Mary Rose Cook's notebook

The public parts of my notebook.

My homepage.


Bret Victor podcast interview

Bret Victor podcast interview


Bret Victor podcast.mp3


#notebook

Be proud of your death count. The more you die, the more you're learning.

Be proud of your death count. The more you die, the more you're learning.


#notebook

Steve Yegge on Jeff Bezos

Steve Yegge on Jeff Bezos

Amazon War Story #1


Over the years I watched people give presentations to Jeff Bezos and come back bruised: emotionally, intellectually, often career-ily. If you came back with a nod or a signoff, you were jumping for joy. Presenting to Jeff is a gauntlet that tends to send people back to the cave to lick their wounds and stay out of the sunlight for a while.


I say “presentations” and you probably think PowerPoint, but no: he outlawed PowerPoint there many years ago. It’s not allowed on the campus. If you present to Jeff, you write it as prose.


One day it came time for me to present to Jeff. It felt like... I don’t know, maybe how they swarm around you when you’re going to meet the President. People giving you last-minute advice, wishing you luck, ushering you past regiments of admins and security guards. It’s like you’re in a movie. A gladiator movie.


Fortunately I’d spent years watching Jeff in action before my turn came, and I had prepared in an unusual way. My presentation which, roughly speaking was about the core skills a generalist engineer ought to know was a resounding success. He loved it. Afterwards everyone was patting me on the back and congratulating me like I’d just completed a game-winning hail-mary pass or something. One VP told me privately: “Presentations with Jeff never go that well.”


But here’s the thing: I had already suspected Jeff was going to like my presentation. You see, I had noticed two things about him, watching him over the years, that others had either not caught on to, or else they had not figured out how to make the knowledge actionable.


Here is how I prepared. Amazon people, take note. This will help you. I am dead serious.


To prepare a presentation for Jeff, first make damn sure you know everything there is to know about the subject. Then write a prose narrative explaining the problem and solution(s). Write it exactly the way you would write it for a leading professor or industry expert on the subject.


That is: assume he already knows everything about it. Assume he knows more than you do about it. Even if you have groundbreakingly original ideas in your material, just pretend it’s old hat for him. Write your prose in the succinct, direct, no-explanations way that you would write for a world-leading expert on the material.


You’re almost done. The last step before you’re ready to present to him is this: Delete every third paragraph.


Now you’re ready to present!


Back in the mid-1800s there was this famous-ish composer/pianist named Franz Liszt. He is widely thought to have been the greatest sight-reader who ever lived. He could sight-read anything you gave him, including crazy stuff not even written for piano, like opera scores. He was so staggeringly good at sight-reading that his brain was only fully engaged on the first run-through. After that he’d get bored and start embellishing with his own additions.


Bezos is so goddamned smart that you have to turn it into a game for him or he’ll be bored and annoyed with you. That was my first realization about him. Who knows how smart he was before he became a billionaire let’s just assume it was “really frigging smart”, since he did build Amazon from scratch. But for years he’s had armies of people taking care of everything for him. He doesn’t have to do anything at all except dress himself in the morning and read presentations all day long. So he’s really, REALLY good at reading presentations. He’s like the Franz Liszt of sight-reading presentations.


So you have to start tearing out whole paragraphs, or even pages, to make it interesting for him. He will fill in the gaps himself without missing a beat. And his brain will have less time to get annoyed with the slow pace of your brain.


I mean, imagine what it would be like to start off as an incredibly smart person, arguably a first-class genius, and then somehow wind up in a situation where you have a general’s view of the industry battlefield for ten years. Not only do you have more time than anyone else, and access to more information than anyone else, you also have this long-term eagle-eye perspective that only a handful of people in the world enjoy.


In some sense you wouldn’t even be human anymore. People like Jeff are better regarded as hyper-intelligent aliens with a tangential interest in human affairs.


But how do you prepare a presentation for a giant-brained alien? Well, here’s my second realization: He will outsmart you. Knowing everything about your subject is only a first-line defense for you. It’s like armor that he’ll eat through in the first few minutes. He is going to have at least one deep insight about the subject, right there on the spot, and it’s going to make you look like a complete buffoon.


Trust me folks, I saw this happen time and again, for years. Jeff Bezos has all these incredibly intelligent, experienced domain experts surrounding him at huge meetings, and on a daily basis he thinks of shit that they never saw coming. It’s a guaranteed facepalm fest.


So I knew he was going to think of something that I hadn’t. I didn’t know what it might be, because I’d spent weeks trying to think of everything. I had reviewed the material with dozens of people. But it didn’t matter. I knew he was going to blindside me, because that’s what happens when you present to Jeff.


If you assume it’s coming, then it’s not going to catch you quite as off-guard.


And of course it happened. I forgot Data Mining. Wasn’t in the list. He asked me point-blank, very nicely: “Why aren’t Data Mining and Machine Learning in this list?” And I laughed right in his face, which sent a shock wave through the stone-faced jury of VPs who had been listening in silence, waiting for a cue from Jeff as to whether he was going to be happy or I was headed for the salt mines.


I laughed because I was delighted. He’d caught me with my pants down around my ankles, right in front of everyone, despite all my excruciating weeks of preparation. I had even deleted about a third of the exposition just to keep his giant brain busy, but it didn’t matter. He’d done it again, and I looked like a total ass-clown in front of everyone. It was frigging awesome.


So yeah, of course I couldn’t help laughing. And I said: “Yup, you got me. I don’t know why it’s not in there. It should be. I’m a dork. I’ll add it.” And he laughed, and we moved on, and everything was great. Even the VPs started smiling. It annoyed the hell out of me that they’d had to wait for a cue, but whatever. Life was good.


You have to understand: most people were scared around Bezos because they were waaaay too worried about trying to keep their jobs. People in high-level positions sometimes have a little too much personal self-esteem invested in their success. Can you imagine how annoying it must be for him to be around timid people all day long? But me well, I thought I was going to get fired every single day. So fuck timid. Might as well aim high and go out in a ball of flame.


That’s where the “Dread Pirate Bezos” line came from. I worked hard and had fun, but every day I honestly worried they might fire me in the morning. Sure, it was a kind of paranoia. But it was sort of healthy in a way. I kept my resume up to date, and I kept my skills up to date, and I never worried about saying something stupid and ruining my career. Because hey, they were most likely going to fire me in the morning.


#notebook

The slides for Kay's talk about using your less healthy desires to drive you to get better at programming

The slides for Kay's talk about using your less healthy desires to drive you to get better at programming


#notebook

How people use their Nintendo Switches

How people use their Nintendo Switches


#notebook

Simple React patterns, Lucas Reis

Simple React patterns, Lucas Reis


Loading data cleanliness


Solo render function pattern

const PlanetView = ({ name, climate, terrain }) => (
  <div>
    <h2>{name}</h2>
    <div>Climate: {climate}</div>
    <div>Terrain: {terrain}</div>
  </div>
);



Patterns for when the model code doesn't need to be reused

Mixed component pattern



export default class Dagobah extends React.Component {
  state = { loading: true };

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch("https://swapi.co/api/planets/5")
      .then(res => res.json())
      .then(
        planet => this.setState({ loading: false, planet }),
        error => this.setState({ loading: false, error })
      );
  }

  renderLoading() {
    return <div>Loading...</div>;
  }

  renderError() {
    return <div>I'm sorry! Please try again.</div>;
  }

  renderPlanet() {
    const { name, climate, terrain } = this.state.planet;
    return (
      <div>
        <h2>{name}</h2>
        <div>Climate: {climate}</div>
        <div>Terrain: {terrain}</div>
      </div>
    );
  }

  render() {
    if (this.state.loading) {
      return this.renderLoading();
    } else if (this.state.planet) {
      return this.renderPlanet();
    } else {
      return this.renderError();
    }
  }
}



Container/view pattern


class PlanetView extends React.Component {
  renderLoading() {
    return <div>Loading...</div>;
  }

  renderError() {
    return <div>I'm sorry! Please try again.</div>;
  }

  renderPlanet() {
    const { name, climate, terrain } = this.props.planet;
    return (
      <div>
        <h2>{name}</h2>
        <div>Climate: {climate}</div>
        <div>Terrain: {terrain}</div>
      </div>
    );
  }

  render() {
    if (this.props.loading) {
      return this.renderLoading();
    } else if (this.props.planet) {
      return this.renderPlanet();
    } else {
      return this.renderError();
    }
  }
}

class DagobahContainer extends React.Component {
  state = { loading: true };

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch("https://swapi.co/api/planets/5")
      .then(res => res.json())
      .then(
        planet => this.setState({ loading: false, planet }),
        error => this.setState({ loading: false, error })
      );
  }

  render() {
    return <PlanetView {...this.state} />;
  }
}

export default DagobahContainer;



Container/branch/view pattern


const LoadingView = () => <div>Loading...</div>;

const ErrorView = () => <div>Please try again.</div>;

const PlanetView = ({ name, climate, terrain }) => (
  <div>
    <h2>{name}</h2>
    <div>Climate: {climate}</div>
    <div>Terrain: {terrain}</div>
  </div>
);

const PlanetBranch = ({ loading, planet }) => {
  if (loading) {
    return <LoadingView />;
  } else if (planet) {
    return <PlanetView {...planet} />;
  } else {
    return <ErrorView />;
  }
};

class DagobahContainer extends React.Component {
  state = { loading: true };

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch("https://swapi.co/api/planets/5")
      .then(res => res.json())
      .then(
        planet => this.setState({ loading: false, planet }),
        error => this.setState({ loading: false, error })
      );
  }

  render() {
    return <PlanetBranch {...this.state} />;
  }
}

export default DagobahContainer;



Patterns for when the view needs to be decoupled from the model


Higher order component pattern


const withDagobah = PlanetViewComponent =>
  class extends React.Component {
    state = { loading: true };

    componentDidMount() {
      fetch("https://swapi.co/api/planets/5")
        .then(res => res.json())
        .then(
          planet => this.setState({ loading: false, planet }),
          error => this.setState({ loading: false, error })
        );
    }

    render() {
      return <PlanetViewComponent {...this.state} />;
    }
  };

export default withDagobah(PlanetBranch);




const hoc = withPlanet('tatooine')(PlanetView);


Render props pattern (AKA Children as function pattern)


class Dagobah extends React.Component {
  state = { loading: true };

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch("https://swapi.co/api/planets/5")
      .then(res => res.json())
      .then(
        planet => this.setState({ loading: false, planet }),
        error => this.setState({ loading: false, error })
      );
  }

  render() {
    return this.props.render(this.state);
  }
}

export default () => (
  <Dagobah
    render={({ loading, error, planet }) => {
      if (loading) {
        return <LoadingView />;
      } else if (planet) {
        return <PlanetView {...planet} />;
      } else {
        return <ErrorView />;
      }
    }}
  />
);



Context


Provider pattern

import React from "react";
import PropTypes from "prop-types";

const contextTypes = {
  dagobah: PropTypes.shape({
    loading: PropTypes.bool,
    error: PropTypes.object,
    planet: PropTypes.shape({
      name: PropTypes.string,
      climate: PropTypes.string,
      terrain: PropTypes.string
    })
  })
};

// provider

export class DagobahProvider extends React.Component {
  state = { loading: true };

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch("https://swapi.co/api/planets/5")
      .then(res => res.json())
      .then(
        planet => this.setState({ loading: false, planet }),
        error => this.setState({ loading: false, error })
      );
  }

  static childContextTypes = contextTypes;

  getChildContext() {
    return { dagobah: this.state };
  }

  render() {
    return this.props.children;
  }
}

// higher order component

const withDagobah = PlanetViewComponent =>
  class extends React.Component {
    static contextTypes = contextTypes;

    render() {
      const { props, context } = this;
      return <PlanetViewComponent {...props} {...context.dagobah} />;
    }
  };

const DagobahPlanet = withDagobah(PlanetView);



#medianotes #notebook

The Knick, Steven Soderbergh

The Knick, Steven Soderbergh


#notebook

Why project-based learning fails, James Koppel

Why project-based learning fails, James Koppel

  1. Write the networking component of a larger system.
  2. Write test cases for a small existing program that tempts you to make classic testing mistakes.
  3. Coordinate with coach to build something, committing pseudocode. The coach deliberately misunderstands your instructions and sees if you pick them up on it.
  4. Write small project in a team where tasks are divided up extremely small. Each person writes tests for another's code. (Integrates skills of 2 and 3.)

#notebook #medianotes

Chris Hecker interview

Chris Hecker interview

[assets/DN36_Chris_Hecker.mp3]


DN37_Chris_Hecker.mp3


#notebook

Peak, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Peak, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Review

Some excellent techniques for deliberate practice. Includes plenty of supporting evidence for skill being born of practice, not talent. A good accompaniment to Mindset.


The brain is plastic (including mindset stuff)


Mental representations


Finding good mental representations



Chunks



Planning



Misc


Practice


Motivation, not willpower



Types of practice

Naive practice



Purposeful practice



Deliberate practice



Effective practice techniques



Finding a coach/expert



10,000 hours


#notebook #medianotes

Principles, Ray Dalio

Principles, Ray Dalio

#notebook

The Benjamin Franklin Method of Reading Programming Books

The Benjamin Franklin Method of Reading Programming Books


About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them.


— Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography



#notebook

Jonathan Pie, why Trump won

Jonathan Pie, why Trump won

President Trump: How & Why... - YouTube


#notebook

Calvin and Hobbes, somehow it's always right now until it's later

Calvin and Hobbes, somehow it's always right now until it's later


#notebook

Balenciaga dress

Balenciaga dress


A dress made out of just two pieces of fabric.


#notebook

Universal paperclips

Universal paperclips





Micro-economics


Indirection


You manage what you measure


Risk


Automation


#notebook

Playfair and Michelangelo

Playfair and Michelangelo


#notebook

Thoughts on Dynamicland

Thoughts on Dynamicland

Layers of abstraction


In Dynamicland, there seem to be three layers of abstraction.


They use the phrase “operating system” to refer to the software that runs the cameras, projectors, dynamic pages and so on. Despite being a low level, this layer seems manipulable. It is still within the system.


Above that layer is the set of programs that run on pages. These seem to be written in Lua.


Above that layer are the dynamic objects that can be manipulated using “real-world” tools: arms, hands, pens, glue and so on.


It seems likely that the higher layers will be changed more often than the lower layers.


It seems likely that, as you go up the layers, the tools become increasingly accessible to non-programmers.


The name


Is the name, Dynamicland, an oblique reference to DisneyLand?


Pretend worlds vs the real world


Ordinary creative programs like Photoshop generate a pretend world inside the computer. The user interacts with the world using only a few of their faculties: sight, hearing and limited movements.


VR also creates a pretend world inside the computer. But the user can interact with the world using a wider range of movements.


AR puts some of the real world into a pretend world.


Dynamicland is the real world. But it projects virtual worlds into the real world.


It feels like the approach of Dynamicland is to start by picking a different set of assumptions. Instead of assuming that the power of a cohesive simulation is too great to let go of, Dynamicland seems to assume that the power of our bodies in the real world is too great to let go of. Starting from that assumption, it seems to try to bring back as many simulated elements as possible.


#notebook

Rachel Whiteread, (Paperbacks)

Rachel Whiteread, (Paperbacks)


My Dad and I saw the Whiteread retrospective. I don’t think I like her art very much, but we did talk a lot about it. Which means it’s probably better than I think it is.


#notebook

Computer history

Computer history

It was magical to see some of my favourite computers.


The PDP-1, the machine that started programmer culture.



XEROX Alto, the computer that preceded the Macintosh.



The original Macintosh.




The NeXT Computer, the computer that ran the operating system that preceded OS X.



The Apple campus.



Bandley Drive, where the original Macintosh was designed.



The Google campus.



Palo Alto.



#notebook

On the road

On the road

LA to SF.












#notebook

LA

LA



The Norton Simon Museum



The insane array of juices at Ehrwone. I had the beetroot, grapefruit and orange one and it was incredible.



Driving around Bel Air



Venice Beach



#notebook

My dad and I went to the location of the shootout after the bank robbery in Heat

My dad and I went to the location of the shootout after the bank robbery in Heat

The steps outside the bank.




The trees that Vincent Hanna runs past when he arrives late to the robbery.




The bridge that the robbers work their way towards.




Past the bridge.




#notebook

Playboy interview with Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Playboy interview with Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Playboy Interview: Google Guys


#notebook

A documentary about the making of Heat

A documentary about the making of Heat

(Gone from YouTube.)


#notebook

Playboy Interview: Steve Jobs

Playboy Interview: Steve Jobs

Playboy Interview: Steve Jobs


#notebook

Eden

Eden


A reality programme about twenty trying to live in the wilderness for a year. It’s interesting to see some of the mechanics of subsistence.


#notebook

Greg Fox

Greg Fox

Greg Fox – Boiler Room In Stereo - YouTube


Lauren and I saw him play at Cafe Oto yesterday.


#notebook

Chinatown

Chinatown


Lauren and I saw this at the cinema last weekend. The big screen meant that, in this scene, I noticed Faye Dunaway’s face reflected in the car window.


#notebook

Mindset, Carol S. Dweck

Mindset, Carol S. Dweck

I got a lot out of this. I’d read about growth and fixed mindsets before, and had taken some steps to working on my own mindset. But reading lot of examples helped me go much deeper.


Also, I think that reading a book lets you learn a lot more than a long article, even if they have the same content. Reading a book means you live with its subject. Your life is immersed in it for a while. There’s more chance for regularly-occuring thoughts or events to come up that you can tie into the material.


#notebook

The Big Sick

The Big Sick


#notebook

An oblique account of a visit to Bret Victor's lab

An oblique account of a visit to Bret Victor's lab

https://limn.it/utopian-hacks/?doing_wp_cron=1498868053.3908839225769042968750


#notebook

What job do you hire a milkshake to do? Clayton Christensen

What job do you hire a milkshake to do? Clayton Christensen

Jobs to be done.


Market Disruptions & Online Learning - YouTube


#notebook

Check It

Check It

CHECK IT (2017) Official Trailer - YouTube


A good documentary about a gay, black gang in Washinton D.C.


#notebook

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger


#notebook

Aged 8 in Paxos

Aged 8 in Paxos


#notebook

Lauren and me in Rome

Lauren and me in Rome

Laocoön and His Sons, the Vatican. The high priest of Troy was suspicious of the Greeks’ Trojan horse. The Gods wanted Greece to win the war with Troy, so they sent snakes to kill the high priest and his two sons.



Apollo Belvedere, the Vatican



The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican



The Oculus of the Pantheon



A column in the Pantheon



Saints at St. Peter’s Basilica



Pietà, Michelangelo. Sculpted when Michelangelo was 23



The Forum



Lauren and a column at the Forum



Lauren and me at the Forum



#notebook

A speedboat in Venice

A speedboat in Venice


#notebook

Your War (I’m One of You): 20 Years of Joan of Arc

Your War (I’m One of You): 20 Years of Joan of Arc

Your War (I'm One Of You): 20 Years Of Joan Of Arc - YouTube


#notebook

Norman Foster’s sketch of the evolution of the design of Apple’s new campus

Norman Foster’s sketch of the evolution of the design of Apple’s new campus


From Steven Levy’s article.


#notebook

Alan Kay, How to Invent the Future

Alan Kay, How to Invent the Future

The YC / Stanford startup class.


Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id1WShzzMCQ


Learn the rules of the pros, remember the perfume


Learn all the rules of the pros, then forget it all so you can come up with new ideas. You'll retain the perfume of the rules which will help guide you towards the right stuff when you're coming up with the new ideas.


Don't increment, create an industry


Big leaps forward are rejected by companies because middle management would rather just make the thing that made the company successful make more money because it's not very disruptive to their lives.


The present is the worst place to live


Living in the present means you're completely out of it. What we have now is always crap. See it as punchcards and mainframes. So if you want to invent the future, you can't be living in the present.


Vision + problem finding


When you're working on hard things, using a vision and problem finding is much better at the beginning. If you problem solve too early, you run the risk of choosing the wrong problem because you'll be blinded by the present.


High rate of failure is fine


Failing to implement something is an error. You should be ashamed. But failing to invent something new is a not shameful. You expect a high failure rate for design.


Invent the things you need to reach the vision


The XEROX PARC stuff was done in about 12 years. But it was preceded by research done for WWII (the Manhattan Project) and research done for the Vietnam War (MIT Building 20 radar project). So it was actually 30 years in the making. So much stuff had to be invented to enable the inventions of PARC.


Don't see what's available and make do with it. Instead, you have to invent the things the vision needs.


An important outcome of the research is better researchers.


MacCready sweet spot



You shouldn't focus on better or worse (the orange wiggly line), you should problem find until you hit something that is really needed. Then the area between the short blue line above MacCready's head is the area you can explore to find great solutions.


Focus on thresholds. That way, you're not always just comparing to local variations.


MacCready was the man who invented man-powered flight. This was the problem that was actually needed. Contrast with the Moon landings which were a dead end because landing on the Moon wasn't what was needed and the technology to do (burning tons of chemicals that are so heavy you need a huge rocket to do it) was a dead.


Wayne Gretzky skated to where the puck is going to be


Kay used this idea to talk about a way to get out of the present. Extrapolate to 30 years in the future where you think, "Surely we'll have X". (The skating.) Then dial it back to 15 years in the future and use extremely expensive/overpowered technology to implement it.


Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIR6Rmhm3To)


Context is worth 80 IQ points


IQ. Leonardo had IQ. But he couldn't ever build an engine to power his machines because he didn't have the knowledge.


Knowledge. Henry Ford did have that knowledge, even though he might not have been as smart.


Context / world view. Newton had the right context / world view to invent the laws of motion.


(Kay doesn't really say what constitutes context.)




Watched up to 8m.


#notebook

Michael Nielsen

Michael Nielsen

http://cognitivemedium.com/trouble_with_definitions/index.html


A book I love is “Proofs and Refutations” (Imre Lakatos). A big point of that book is that people tend to think of definitions & categories as starting points, from which we derive theorems or scientific results about the world. But the process really works the other way round. Definitions and categories are things which emerge after we’ve understood phenomena in the world, and as a consequence of that understanding. And so while it’s worth making very tentative definitions, it’s a mistake to do so too prematurely, or to hold too strongly to them. Those tentative definitions are, at best, scaffolding to help arrive at an understanding, which may eventually result in good definitions.


#notebook

The Social Network- Sorkin, Structure and Collaboration

The Social Network- Sorkin, Structure and Collaboration

The Social Network — Sorkin, Structure, and Collaboration - YouTube


#notebook

Thinking in Systems, Daniella H Meadows:

Thinking in Systems, Daniella H Meadows:

President Jimmy Carter had an unusual ability to think in feedback terms and to make feedback policies. Unfortunately, he had a hard time explaining them to a press and pbulic and didn’t understand feedback.


Carter was trying to deal with a flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico. He suggested that nothing could be done about that immigration as long as there was a great gap in opportunity and living standards between the United States and Mexico. Rather than spending the money on border guards and barriers, he said, we should spend money helping to build the Mexican economy, and we should continue to do so until the immigration stopped.


That never happened.


You can imagine why a dynamic, self-adjusting feedback system cannot be governed by a static, unbending policy. It’s easier, more effective, and usually much cheaper, to design policies that change depending on the state of the system. Especially when there are great uncertainties, the best policies not only contain feedback loops, but meta-feedback loops - loops that alter, correct and expand loosp. These are policies that design learning into the management process.


#notebook

An MVP for a car

An MVP for a car


An incredibly touching gift from the developers I coached at Makers Academy.


#notebook

Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows

Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows

No physical entity can grow forever. If company managers, city governments, the human population do not choose and enforce their own limits to keep growth within the capacity of the supporting environment, then the environment will choose and enforce limits.


#notebook

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan:

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan:

Where black is the color, where none is the number

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it

And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’

And I’ll know my song well before I start singin’


#notebook

Pieta, Michelangelo

Pieta, Michelangelo


I saw a reproduction of this in the Michelangelo and Sebastiano exhibition at the National Gallery. I’m really excited to see the original in Rome this summer.


#notebook

Talking Funny

Talking Funny

Talking Funny - HBO - YouTube


A discussion between Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock, Louis C.K. and Jerry Seinfeld.


#notebook

Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows

Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows

The system starts out with enough oil in the underground deposit to supply the initial scale of operation for 200 years. But, actual extraction peaks at about 40 years because of the surprising effect of exponential growth in extraction. At an investment rate of 10 percent per year, the capital stock and therefore the extraction rate both grow at 5 percent per year and so double in the first 14 years. After 28 years, while the capital stock has quadrupled, extraction is starting to lag because of falling yield per unit of capital. By year 50 the cost of maintaining the capital stock has overwhelmed the income from resource extraction, so profits are no longer sufficient to keep inventment ahead of depreciation. The operation quickly shuts down, as the capital stock declines. The last and most expensive of the resource stays in the ground; it doesn’t pay to get it out.


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