Monday, December 05, 2011

Thoughts of the day

I really need to be studying for finals, but the closer I get to my JD, the less certain I am that I want to be a practicing attorney. Some parts of the profession appeal to me. Other parts of it very much turn me off.

I often tack stray thoughts of the day onto my last Thoughts of the day post, which in this case was in June. When I found myself tacking four thoughts today onto a June post, I figured it was time to start a new Thoughts of the day. My last post about zombie dreams and black swans could have been included in this post, but since that post began life as a free-standing post about Wretchard's comments about Nassim Taleeb's recent CFR article, I kept it as its own post. I should think about signing on to Twitter seeing as these accreting thoughts of the day posts are basically a poor man's twitter feed.

I'm featured in a 2-part Spec article (here and here) on the MilVets origin story. There are several factual detail inaccuracies, which I may correct someday on my blog, but the gist of the story is right.

Summary of what I was as a CU student activist: visionary, activist, recruiter, planner, organizer, operations chief, communicator, facilitator, writer. Guided by intuition. Ideas from inspiration. My DNA was in the movement and my fingerprints were on it. Conflict resolver when I wasn't a party to the conflict. Self-conscious leader. Capable administrator. Averse to bureaucracy. Ambivalent socializer. Weak politician.

Game on: The Columbia Provost's NROTC implementation committee has formally begun its work. My blueprint for Columbia ROTC, with much of its content taken from the Harvard ROTC blueprint, has stood up well since its writing. I hope it's useful for the program designers. I'm considering putting up my suggestions and modular approach on SN, too.

Observation about declining Italian demographics applies to CU ROTC student headcount, too: The Catholic Church asserts, Bagnasco said, that “demographic balance is not only necessary for the physical survival of a community – which without children has no future – but is also a condition for that alliance between generations that is essential for a normal democratic dialectic.”

Popular Mechanics (link from reddit) describes the "error chain" of the 2009 Air France 447 crash as mostly due to extreme pilot error. A crew of highly trained professional pilots flying a functioning state-of-the-art Airbus330 in moderately challenging but ordinary circumstances disintegrated into psychological chaos and made baffling errors that resulted in 228 deaths. It's astonishing that basic human panic overwhelmed the most advanced systemic and technological safeguards to crash that plane. More from the author about the psychology of the doomed pilots, particularly Pierre-Cédric Bonin. On last night's Top Chef: Texas, experienced professional chef Whitney Otawka was eliminated for serving undercooked, even raw, potato gratin to the judges, a surprisingly elementary cooking error. In a TV Guide interview today, Otawka gave some telling insights about her state of mind: You know when you're in those situations under so much pressure that your brain doesn't think linearly? [Laughs] My thought process was off. . . . You have to imagine that you're not in your own kitchen, so you're totally not acclimated to everything around you. And then there are 13 of us running into each other. There's so much stress that it carries over into how you're cooking and I go back to that non-linear thought process. Your brain is just bouncing around in a million directions. You look back and you're like, "Oh my gosh! What was I doing?" It takes an exceptional mind to immediately master chaos and make correct decisions when a situation has gone off pattern, alien or unexpected inputs are bombarding the senses, and instant decisions are required with serious consequences. A normal response is panicked brain freeze. These accounts make me feel a little better about my choke job in the Baker final that possibly cost my team the win, but it's no less disconcerting that experienced, respected, skilled professionals also make disastrous mistakes under stress.

American Horror Story is captivatingly good in its 1st season. Showrunner Ryan Murphy, however, has a history of new shows that grab and excite audiences by pushing the envelope with richly crafted, aggressively imaginative stories but then lose their way in their 2nd seasons. See Glee and Nip/Tuck, and think of a souffle made with the best ingredients that puffs up impressively, then collapses. Supposedly, American Horror Story will try to solve the 1-season-hit problem by starting over with a new cast and storyline in Season 2. Freeze Season 1 at its peak of ripeness and begin a new journey. If that's true, 1 year blocks are an innovative, not inelegant, and self-aware compromise by someone who understands the sustainable limits of his process but seeks to preserve the special strengths of his creative bursts. 1/2/2012 add: Entertainment Weekly Popwatch offers solid 'post-mortem' thoughts and information.

MTV's Beavis and Butthead is must-watch stuff, smart, sarcastic, and bitingly incisive. It would have been cool to have watched the show in its first go-around. Interesting how Mike Judge's other famous show, King of the Hill, is so different in tone from Beavis and Butthead.

Look beyond positions. Look at interests, leverage, and incentives.

Zenpundit posts some interesting thoughts on strategic thinking.

Having the power to open Pandora's box doesn't always mean you have the power to close it. But you can quit and leave the mess for others.

Dick Proenneke of the awe-inspiring Alone in the Wilderness films was The Man.

New Red Sox and ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine reminds me of me.

Interesting observational "slashes" by a conservative Finnish blogger, translated.

Good point about irony and detachment becoming valued over sincerity and conviction in popular culture.

Nice guys do finish last. But I knew that already.

Oh boy. I've done this.

True: "A friendly, non-shit testing 7 with a slender figure is like the holy grail to 70% of the world’s men."

Interesting blog by a pro-feminine (not pro-feminist) wife who takes issue with The Surrendered Wife, which she says goes too far in the opposite extreme from militant feminism.

Another criticique of feminist teachings: The Cost of Delaying Marriage.

Play Shaggy's It Wasn't Me as a backdrop while reading these depressing caught-my-SO-cheating testimonials on Reddit.

Project Runway designer babes: Season 3's Alison Kelly, Season 5's Kenley Collins (returning in the 2012 "all-star" season). In their seasons, Alison was sweet and Kenley was brassy.

Antoni Gramcsi is credited with a compelling poli sci theory.

Eric

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