Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse in Casper, Wyoming

Time magazine has a neat video of the eclipse in Casper, Wyoming. Note that you can direct the camera in the icon in the top left.

As you move the camera further to the left, you can also seen the screen photo of the sun. Look for the "diamond ring" effect toward the end of the eclipse.

Quick Look

The trailer for "To Catch a Thief."

Night Reading

I read a ridiculously large amount but not as much as I should. Each item is carefully suited to the moment. Late at night, care must be taken to select a book that, while interesting, won't be so interesting that it will keep me up. Nothing spooky, of course, and that's why my current late night choice of a nonfiction book about a Siberian tiger that not just kills but murders with a vengeance is an exception. [The publisher also printed the damned thing in such small type that there are times when my nose brushes the pages. That puts me all the closer to the tiger.]

Long ago I abandoned the idea that starting a book meant that I'd have to finish it. I'll give a writer three or maybe four chapters and if I'm not hooked it's adios. Some are chucked after a few pages. Stephen King's first volume of The Dark Tower was so bad so early that I was tempted to take it out into the yard and shoot it.

Anyway, back to late night reading. Business books won't work because I'll get too many ideas and will stay up late jotting down notes. Some histories and biographies are fine. Classics are best. Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens are grand choices but the Russian, Spanish, and French novelists will also serve. [Tell a friend, "I was up last night with a Trollope" and your reputation may change.]

If you've found a great late-night author, let me know.

Eclipse Day

The day of the eclipse. I have client meetings. Although we may take a break to peek out windows it is unlikely that there will be much excitement. 

Arizona is not prime eclipse territory so I've had to scrap plans to demand total obedience lest I blot out the sun.

Which is a shame. It could have been a day of high drama.

Bate Watch

I suspect that Nicholas Bate now has a branch office.

Great Book Titles

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Find Something Beautiful Today

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Celebrate Noir

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Quick Look

The trailer for "Moneyball."

"The Quest for Cosmic Justice"

Reprise: Check out Dr. Thomas Sowell's speech on his book about cosmic justice. An excerpt:

When you try to condense a book representing years of thought and research into a half-hour talk, a certain amount of over-simplification is inevitable.  With that understood, let me try to summarize the message of The Quest for Cosmic Justice in three propositions which may seem to be axiomatic, but whose implications are in fact politically controversial:
  1. The impossible is not going to be achieved.

  2. It is a waste of precious resources to try to achieve it.

  3. The devastating costs and social dangers which go with these attempts to achieve the impossible should be taken into account.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. 

- Lin Yutang

Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebrate Noir

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"Extreme Ownership"

Take a few minutes today to listen to Navy SEAL Jocko Willink's TED talk on ownership.

Highly recommended.

First Paragraph

This is a history of the Gulag: a history of the vast network of labor camps that were once scattered across the length and breadth of the Soviet Union, from the islands of the White Sea to the shores of the Black Sea, from the Arctic Circle to the plains of central Asia, from Murmansk to Vorkuta to Kazakhstan, from central Moscow to the Leningrad suburbs. Literally, the word GULAG is an acronym, meaning Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration. Over time, the word "Gulag" has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself, in all its forms and varieties: labor camps, punishment camps, criminal and political camps, women's camps, children's camps, transit camps. Even more broadly, "Gulag" has come to mean the Soviet repressive system itself, the set of procedures that prisoners once called the "meat-grinder": the arrests, the interrogations, the transport in unheated cattle cars, the forced labor, the destruction of families, the years spent in exile, the early and unnecessary deaths.

- From Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum

Art Break: Aylward

Art Contrarian looks at the work of William James Aylward.

The Mass Hysteria Bubble

If you’re in the mass hysteria, recognizing you have all the symptoms of hysteria won’t help you be aware you are in it. That’s not how hallucinations work. Instead, your hallucination will automatically rewrite itself to expel any new data that conflicts with its illusions.

But if you are not experiencing mass hysteria, you might be totally confused by the actions of the people who are. They appear to be irrational, but in ways that are hard to define. You can’t tell if they are stupid, unscrupulous, ignorant, mentally ill, emotionally unstable or what. It just looks frickin’ crazy.

Read the rest of the Scott Adams post here.

Lessons of Modern Life

  • Social media is generally unsociable.
  • Authenticity is over-rated. Insincere kindness beats sincere cruelty. 
  • The traditional news media bemoan informal news sources but then do everything possible to enhance the appeal of those sources.
  • In the game of ideas those who can't score a point can always feign an injury.
  • People who barely know their own minds can tell you, in minute detail, the arcane motives of a person whom they've never met.
  • The draft did more for the nation than it did for the military..
  • .Walk slowly and observe. Read slowly and do the same.
  • The government should move several cabinet departments to the Midwest, the Southwest, and the South.
  • This may be one of those times in history when the kids won't be all right.
  • Hollywood political endorsements should be the kiss of death.
  • If the quality of your life is to be depicted by either an email or a handwritten letter, choose the letter.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.

- Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Celebrate Westerns

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Quick Look

The trailer for "1984."

A List of Simple Rules

Here's an assignment. Take some time out and write a list of simple rules that you believe leaders and managers should follow. Try to get more than three and - ideally - limit your list to both sides of an index card.

I'll be doing the same and we can compare our lists next week.

The process itself should be helpful.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Productivity is never an accident.

- Paul Meyer

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Secret to Living Longer

The World Economic Forum has a secret to living longer that is both easy and enjoyable.

Viewpoint Diversity

Jacques Berlinerblau on why there are so few Republicans in the humanities. An excerpt:

This imbalance is insanely pronounced in the humanities. It is really, really hard to find a Republican art historian, or a pro-life women’s studies scholar, or an English professor in favor of open carry policies for guns on campus, or a French cinema expert who touts free market values. At an elite school—the type of joint that sits high and lofty atop the U.S. News & World Report rankings—you’re far more likely to encounter a Maoist vegan. Probably a few Maoist vegans.

Music Break

From Fiddler on the Roof: "If I Were a Rich Man."

Lenin in Seattle

GeekWire on the Lenin statue in Seattle.

Amid the Rules

Amid the rules and the rush, don't forget context.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Don't confuse a database with a sphere of influence.

- Mike Myatt

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Merchant of Venice."

Pass the Molasses

It can be counter-intuitive but when advice is needed quickly often the best counsel is to slow down. 

There are many ways to deal with workplace crises. An effective tool can be administrative molasses.

As former Secretary of State George Shultz put it: "Don't just do something. Stand there."

The Great Compromise

Cultural Offering has a thought-provoking analysis by the great Civil War historian Shelby Foote; a view with clear relevance to our times.

It is hard to imagine Shelby Foote being allowed to speak, much less teach, on today's university campuses.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 MPG.

- Bill Gates