Death mask of Napoleon taken shortly after his Death - St. Helena, 1821 - [1257 x 1600]
Looks like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner
I wonder if Trump will resign before the election to avoid getting crushed?
“It’s just politics.”
No one ever says, “it’s just governance.”
Politics is organized sparring about power, without much regard for efficacy or right or wrong.
Governance is the serious business of taking responsibility for leadership.
Over the last twenty years, the mass media has shifted, from “here’s the news,” to, “hey, it’s just media.” As a result, a system has been built in which situations, emergencies and bad news have been packaged and promoted twenty-four hours a day.
In the face of that maelstrom of noise, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the world is more dangerous and unstable than it has ever been.
When we have a chance to speak up for governance, we can strike a blow against politics.
Because even though it doesn’t make compelling TV, the long-term challenges ahead of us aren’t going to respond to politics.
Dedication, resilience and concerted effort have saved us before and they can save us again. Except once again, it’s on us to speak up and do something about it.
Doctors at a private hospital in Benin City, Edo State, Celltek Healthcare Medical Centre, have successfully performed stem cells transplant on a 62-year-old patient with multiple myeloma.
Leader of the medical team that carried out the operation, Prof. Godwin Bazuaye, told journalists in Benin City that the cell transplant was carried out in collaboration with Sudabelt, Terumo BCT and Global Blood Funds...[more]
CongoEats aims to provide you with a meal to accompany every moment. A first of its kind in DR Congo, the CongoEats platform connects you to your favorite restaurants. Not only is this platform accessible via mobile and desktop devices, it is also the easiest and most convenient way to reserve a table or to order your next meal straight to your door.via Disrupt
Someone has to win the lottery, it might as well be you.
Buying a lottery ticket is economically irrational and emotionally rewarding for some. Because while someone has to win, it’s probably not going to be you.
There are examples of lottery logic in our daily work as well. It’s clear that someone is going to be the next Taylor Swift, the next George Clooney or the next Will Smith. But it’s probably not going to be you. Someone is going to raise a $40 million seed round, or get picked to be the next big thing. But it’s probably not going to be you.
It’s tempting to decide to follow the path that leads to mass-market stardom, the top of the charts, the fame and fortune that comes to the person who wins a media lottery. It’s tempting to build a mass-market podcast or a general-audience news site. It’s tempting to be the sort of vanilla-but-attractive actor who can play just about any role…
But it’s far more productive to focus on stepwise progress for the smallest viable audience instead. It might not make headlines, but it’s far more likely to work and more rewarding in the long run.
Masami Teraoka’s “Christine at Hanauma Bay” (1992), from his “New Wave” series.CreditMasami Teraoka, “New Wave Series/Christine at Hanauma Bay,” 1992 via The Comedians Challenging Stereotypes About Asian-American Masculinity)
Arithmetic is true. It’s true because
1. we accept the terms for what they mean
2. it’s timeless, past and present and future are the same
3. it’s testable
In every fourth-grade classroom, the statement, “9 is bigger than 7” is clearly true. We can count out nine marbles. We have a mutual understanding of what “bigger” means in this context. From this shared understanding of the axioms and vocabulary, we can build useful and complex outcomes.
On the other hand, “Cheryl is a better candidate than Tracy” might be true for some people, but it presents all sorts of trouble if we look at it through the same lens of “truth” as a term we learned in arithmetic. We know who Cheryl is and we know who Tracy is, but it’s not clear what “better” means in this case. Are we describing who will win an election in two weeks? That’s awfully hard to test in advance.
And ‘words as building blocks of truth’ gets even more complicated when the ideas intersect with both science and culture. The statement, “The theory of evolution is our best explanation for how we all got here,” is demonstrably true in the realm of science, but for people with a certain worldview who value cultural alignment more than verifiable and testable evidence, this statement isn’t true at all.
The words matter. It matters whether we’re talking about ‘arithmetic true’ or simply an accurate description of what works for part of our culture.
How’d you perform on the sales call?
It was great.
How do you know?
How did you play?
How do you know?
Actually, that’s selling your potential short.
Even if the chip shot went in the hole, it doesn’t mean you hit the ball properly.
It might simply have been a positive variance. Next time, it could easily bounce the other way.
In order to improve our performance, we need to model our preparation, our effort and our form against a standard, not base it on the outcome. Because outcomes aren’t always guaranteed by our work.
Just because you won doesn’t mean you did a good job (and vice versa).
Shun the people who have transgressed against cultural norms.
And shun the people who have stood with those people.
Shun the people who have a different solution to an urgent problem.
Shun the people who didn’t invite you.
Shun the people who aren’t shunning the right people.
Shun those who have slighted you.
And shun those who didn’t realize that they should be shunning those that you’re shunning.
Not much left.
Shunning is a powerful tool, it is a sanction that society uses to maintain norms. But it’s an absolute tool, a final resort.
It’s possible to connect with people without endorsing their worst actions. In fact, the best way to undo negative actions may be to engage with people to persuade them that there’s a different way forward.
Giving a talk to three people is easy. No sweat. Giving it to 100 costs you a night’s sleep.
Sending an email to six colleagues is normal. Sending a note to a list of 400 is cause for concern.
Where, exactly, is the line?
Is an audience of 21 different from 24?
If you spend some time looking for the line, perhaps you’ll discover that there’s rarely a reason to freak out. It’s just one more than the number you’re fine with, after all.
I did a live QA and rant today at 10 am NY time. Topic: there’s a difference between reckless, fearless and generous, and once you see it, it’ll help you move forward.
You can watch (and chime in) live, or see it once it’s archived (the insta version is only available for 24 hours).
Thanks for tuning in, wherever and however.
📕 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism: - https://bit.ly/2WiLWDV - “free delivery worldwide”
You thought capitalism was permanent? Think again.
David Harvey unravels the contradictions at the heart of capitalism-its drive, for example, to accumulate capital beyond the means of investing it, it’s imperative to use the cheapest methods of production that leads to consumers with no means of consumption, and its compulsion to exploit nature to the point of extinction. These are the tensions which underpin the persistence of mass unemployment, the downward spirals of Europe and Japan, and the unstable lurches forward of China and India.
Not that the contradictions of capital are all bad: they can lead to the innovations that make capitalism resilient and, it seems, permanent. Yet appearances can deceive: while many of capital’s contradictions can be managed, others will be fatal to our society.
This new book is both an incisive guide to the world around us and a manifesto for change.
📕 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism: - https://bit.ly/2WiLWDV - “free delivery worldwide”
📕 Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution - https://bit.ly/2PGG5Wo - “free delivery worldwide”
📕 A Brief History of Neoliberalism: https://bit.ly/2J9JU58 - “free delivery worldwide”
📕 The New Imperialism: https://bit.ly/2Vfb4yZ - “free delivery worldwide”
📕 The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism - https://bit.ly/2Jg4ukx - “free delivery worldwide”
📕 A Companion to Marx’s Capital: The Complete Edition - https://bit.ly/2Ve5ig8 - “free delivery worldwide”
Upside-down Trump numbers, because Democrats.
As it has become increasingly clear that the results of his tax cut were disappointing — recent data revisions have marked down estimates of both G.D.P. and employment growth, to the point where it’s hard to see more than a brief sugar high from $2 trillion in borrowing — Trump has invented ever more creative ways to blame other people. In particular, he’s now claiming that the promised boom hasn’t arrived because his opponents are hexing the economy with bad thoughts: “The Democrats are trying to ‘will’ the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election.”
Can opposition politicians really cause a recession with negative thinking? This goes beyond voodoo economics; maybe we should call it evil-eye economics.
| Paul Krugman, From Voodoo Economics to Evil-Eye Economics
What does it sound like when you put something off?
All of us have a catalog of voices in our head. We’ve got the one for feeling behind, the one for not feeling good enough, the one we use when we’re trying to avoid a sore spot.
There are good reasons to decide to wait until later.
Waiting for later keeps our options open.
Waiting for later helps us avoid the short-term hustle.
Waiting for later feels safer.
Too often, waiting for later also keeps us from leaping, from leading and from making a difference. It keeps us from moving on, moving forward.
The feeling of “later” doesn’t go away. it actually gets harder and harder to leap as the time goes by.
It’s easy to turn waiting for later into a habit. It’s a great way to hide from the work we truly care about, especially if it’s uncomfortable.
Today’s the last day of 2019 to apply for the altMBA.
It’s possible that you’ve heard about it, read the case studies, seen the impact it’s made on the thousands of people who have completed it, but perhaps you decided to wait until later.
Today is later.
Today’s the last day to apply at our current tuition. Our upcoming session is this October, and after that, we won’t be back until 2020.
Now is usually better than later.
The stunning emergence of a new type of superconductivity with the mere twist of a carbon sheet.
Credits: Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine
Short-term thinking repeated again and again doesn’t lead to long-term thinking.
Rand Fishkin shares a thoughtful analysis about a trend that now affects just about everyone: Google is hoarding more and more traffic.
When I worked at Yahoo, there were 183 links on our home page. The stated strategy of the company was to build more and more internal content and services (Yahoo mail, Yahooligans, Yahoo Finance) to keep as many surfers on their site for as long as they could. The math was simple: if you’re getting paid by the impression, having someone stay for twenty or thirty clicks is way more profitable than encouraging them to leave and go to another site.
Google blew this status quo wide open. Their model was very different: “come here on your way to somewhere else.” There were only two links on their home page, because the only place they wanted to encourage you to go was wherever a good search led you.
If you were a company or an individual with something to say, this hub and spoke model was essential to your ability to make a difference online. The web is a very big haystack, but if your needle was sharp enough, the promise was that you could get found.
And if you were someone looking for information, commerce or connection, you could rely on Google to take you there.
This, as much as anything, enabled Google to draw huge amounts of traffic away from Yahoo. It didn’t take very long for surfers to realize that they wanted to see what else was out there, not be shunted around a walled garden.
Year after year, driven by the short-term (shortsighted) demands of the public markets, Google has been losing its way on this effective (and community-based) strategy. In the most recent data Rand quoted, we see that more than half the time, a search on Google leads to someone either clicking on nothing (because they found what they needed without leaving the search results) or visiting a property Google already owns.
On a regular basis, Google makes changes to their UI and algorithm that destroy companies or industries in order to keep more time and clicks from the person who was expecting to find themselves somewhere else after visiting Google.
If you’re a fan of the open web, this is bad news.
If you’re an individual or business that’s hoping to be ‘found’ via a search, this is bad news.
And if you’re a Google employee or shareholder this is bad news as well, because monopoly is a tempting place to extract cash and drive the stock up, but it’s not stable.
The resilience of the connected open web is one of the shining lights of our modern culture, and my hope is that we can avert lock-in before we calcify around the current status quo.
Every monopoly seems like it’s going to last forever, until it doesn’t.
You might know one.
The busy person has a bias for action, the ability to ship, and a willingness to contribute more than is required. The busy person is wrong more than most people (if you get up to bat more often, you’re going to have more hits and more strike outs, right?). Those errors are dwarfed by the impact they create.
Being a busy person is a choice.
It might not work for you, but you could try it out for a while.
We need more busy people.
A week ago last Friday, I spoke to Joi Ito about the release of documents that implicate Media Lab co-founder Marvin Minsky in Jeffrey Epstein’s horrific crimes. Joi told me that evening that the Media Lab’s ties to Epstein went much deeper, and included a business relationship between Joi and Epstein, investments in companies Joi’s VC fund was supporting, gifts and visits by Epstein to the Media Lab and by Joi to Epstein’s properties. As the scale of Joi’s involvement with Epstein became clear to me, I began to understand that I had to end my relationship with the MIT Media Lab. The following day, Saturday the 10th, I told Joi that I planned to move my work out of the MIT Media Lab by the end of this academic year, May 2020.
My logic was simple: the work my group does focuses on social justice and on the inclusion of marginalized individuals and points of view. It’s hard to do that work with a straight face in a place that violated its own values so clearly in working with Epstein and in disguising that relationship.
I waited until Thursday the 15th for Joi’s apology to share the information with my students, staff, and a few trusted friends. My hope was to work with my team, who now have great uncertainty about their academic and professional futures, before sharing that news widely. I also wrote notes of apology to the recipients of the Media Lab Disobedience Prize, three women who were recognized for their work on the #MeToo in STEM movement. It struck me as a terrible irony that their work on combatting sexual harassment and assault in science and tech might be damaged by their association with the Media Lab. The note I sent to those recipients made its way to the Boston Globe, which ran a story about it this evening. And so, my decision to leave the Media Lab has become public well before I had intended it to.
That’s okay. I feel good about my decision, and I’m hoping my decision can open a conversation about what it’s appropriate for people to do when they discover the institution they’ve been part of has made terrible errors. My guess is that the decision is different for everyone involved. I know that some friends are committed to staying within the lab and working to make it a better, fairer and more transparent place, and I will do my best to support them over the months I remain at the Lab. For me, the deep involvement of Epstein in the life of the Media Lab is something that makes my work impossible to carry forward there.
To clarify a couple of things, since I haven’t actually been able to control the release of information here:
– I am not resigning because I had any involvement with Epstein. Joi asked me in 2014 if I wanted to meet Epstein, and I refused and urged him not to meet with him. We didn’t speak about Epstein again until last Friday.
– I don’t have another university that I’m moving to or another job offer. I just knew that I couldn’t continue the work under the Media Lab banner. I’ll be spending much of this year – and perhaps years to come – seeing if there’s another place to continue this work. Before I would commit to moving the work elsewhere at MIT, I would need to understand better whether the Institute knew about the relationship with Epstein and whether they approved of his gifts.
– I’m not leaving tomorrow. That wouldn’t be responsible – I have classes I am committed to teaching and students who are finishing their degrees. I plan to leave at the end of this academic year.
– My first priority is taking care of my students and staff, who shouldn’t have to suffer because Joi made a bad decision and I decided I couldn’t live with it. My second priority is to help anyone at the Media Lab who wants to turn this terrible situation into a chance to make the Lab a better place. That includes Joi, if he’s able to do the work necessary to transform the Media Lab into a place that’s more consistent with its stated values.
I’m aware of the privilege that it’s been to work at a place filled with as much creativity and brilliance as the Media Lab. But I’m also aware that privilege can be blinding, and can cause people to ignore situations that should be simple matters of right and wrong. Everyone at the Media Lab is going through a process of figuring out how they should react to the news of Epstein and his engagement with the Lab. I hope that everyone else gets to do it first with their students and teams before doing it in the press.
Some of the best roses in the world bloom in Kenya. While the country is widely known for its scenic national parks and wildlife reserves, it’s also a major flower producer. Winnie Gathonie Njonge is the production manager at Nini Flowers, which sits on the shores of Lake Naivasha. She knows all there is about growing perfect roses and oversees the harvesting of 300,000 to 450,000 a day. “The ultimate goal of growing roses is to make other people happy,” she says. It brings her joy to know the roses she cultivates are sent to the United States, Japan and other countries, spreading love and beauty all over the world.
Catalysing scientific breakthroughs to develop novel but scalable ideas
Dr. Moses Alobo, programme manager at Grand Challenges Africa discusses one of the networks recent launches, the transition to scale for innovations programme, and explains how it can help drive societal impact.
The race for being the bearer of the world’s 5G platform, with mind-blowing speed of the internet, is on. It is turning out to be a bare-knuckled fight for who will get the rights and develop capabilities to host the Internet of Things – literally whoever will connect everything together will control everything.
Such a platform would provide the needed technological advancements for the development of the next industrial revolution. Africa, on the other hand, has a brilliant opportunity for other leapfrog technologies with or without 5G technologies. Everywhere you look you will find attempts at innovation, why, because there is a lot that should work better than it currently does, and the populace is restless and demanding as it should be.
We need innovations to develop the continent, but the current challenge is how to reconcile the innovator archetype (represented by that young individual who builds a flying object in your village from a motorcycle engine, a solar panel and some pieces of wood) with the cut and dried African scientist who conducts high level research and is invited to only the ‘president’s session’ in specialised scientific world congresses How do we bring together the former’s can-do attitude with the latter’s know-how, then focus it and deliver technologies and policies that solve some of Africa’s greatest challenges? This holy grail for innovations is what Grand Challenges Africa, launched in 2015, seeks to build and showcase...[more]
...In 2015, CGIAR scientists developed low-tech ways to rapidly transform wet cassava peels into high-quality, safe and hygienic feed ingredients. The process is simple and can be carried out by small-scale processors, more than 80% of whom are women. This transforms cassava waste into a valuable feed resource, generates new incomes, creates jobs and improves well-being by cleaning up the environment. It also helps reduce GHG emissions around cassava processing centres.More here
The results of this research and testing with the private sector are now moving into application, with innovative processing technology converting fresh peels into high-quality cassava peel mash for use as livestock feed (ILRI). Cassava peels are also being transformed into biogas that can be used as an alternative energy source – reducing emissions from fossil fuels.
Photo illustration by Sarah Eckinger; photograph by Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters
Michelle Goldberg is the Galadriel of the dark timeline we are stuck in.
Toxic Nostalgia Breeds Derangement | Michelle Goldberg:
The march of history has been replaced by the will to power. [Peter] Pomerantsev contrasts Soviet propaganda, which tried, however crudely, to be convincing to outsiders, with modern Russia disinformation, which just aims to confuse. You could make a similar comparison between Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric and Trump’s. One way of communicating points forward, the other, back. Pomerantsev quotes the Russian-American Harvard professor Svetlana Boym, who wrote, “The 20th century began with Utopia and ended with nostalgia.”
Reading that, I thought of a feeling I’ve had since 2016 that the orderly progression of time has given way to something chaotic and hallucinatory. I don’t think I’m alone in this; it’s common to hear liberals talk about the “dark timeline” we’re all trapped in.
So much of the culture feels stuck. Social media creates a sense of eternal present; things that happened two weeks ago feel like half-forgotten history. Internet technology, once imbued with futuristic idealism, has become a source of destruction and dread. Fashion has turned back to the 1990s, which was itself a time of nostalgia for the 1970s. Cinemas are full of remakes. At least when the Sex Pistols screamed “No future,” they were sublimating nihilism into art. But now?
“It’s like we went too far. We imagined too much,” says a character in the recent TV series “Years and Years,” a dystopian drama co-produced by HBO and the BBC that takes place just a few years in the future. “We sent all those probes into space, and we went to the very edge of the solar system, built the hadron collider and the internet, and we painted all those paintings and we wrote all those great songs, and then, pop. Whatever we had, we punctured it. And now it’s all collapsing.”
In “This Is Not Propaganda,” Pomerantsev quotes Gleb Pavlovsky, a political strategist who was once an influential adviser to Vladimir Putin, and who recognized, early on, how the end of universalist visions of progress would lead to amoral relativism. “The image of a common mankind is impossible, and no alternative has emerged,” Pavlovsky said. “Everyone invents their own ‘normal’ humanity, their own ‘right’ history.”
If you’re creating something where widespread inputs, usage and adoption lead to significant benefits, it’s worth considering who you’re excluding.
The curb cut turned out not simply to be a boon for wheelchair users. At low cost, it opened the sidewalk to a significantly larger audience of strollers, delivery people and skateboarders, too.
Often, we make the mistake of focusing on too broad an audience. Obsessing about the minimum viable audience forces us to make something that’s truly better. But once we identify those we seek to serve, broadening access is a powerful way to add impact.
This isn’t a matter of high or low, more or less. It’s the power of thinking hard about who it’s for and what it’s for.
iSikCure which allows patients to place orders for drugs. The medicine is then delivered on the same day. They also introduced a subsidiary company, Checkups Medical Centres, a low-cost rapid diagnostics medical clinic which uses technology. Last year, they were able to distribute medical supplies worth over $200,000. They currently have five clinics, four in rural areas and one in an urban area. Wangari says they plan to open up four more urban clinics by June 2020. Her organization has won the Get In The Ring Contest 2018 in Hague, Netherlands. They were also finalists at the SBC AfriTech 2018 in Paris, France.
For more than a decade, I’ve been working with the fine folks at 800 CEO READ (and yes, that’s their phone number, and yes, people have asked me how to reach them.)
It’s where I exclusively sell my book What To Do When It’s Your Turn.
It’s the place my project ChangeThis is still happily thriving.
And it’s the place that makes it easy to buy a big box of books for an event or organization. If you need more than three copies of a title, give them a call and ask. You already know the number.
I’ve never said ‘thank you’ to them here on the blog, so today’s a fine day to do that. They’re changing their name and their website today: PorchlightBooks.
Thanks to the entire team for making the world of books a whole lot easier and more friendly.