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All posts for the month October, 2008

Blogging a lot of links to Peston’s Picks these days. Same subject, but for a change this one has an optimistic silver-lining tone after so many panic-stations downers recently.

Be interesting to see what Goodwin does with his wealth and knighthood, once he goes (if he goes). Might he stay on as the manager who “serves” his people – wishful thinking ? But I’m watchin’ fella.

Not seen TRIZ before. I can see why the references to it that I did come across (more below) don’t bother to explain the “romantic Russian acronym“. Just follow the Wikipedia link if you must know.

It’s a diagramming notation (now even annotation / mark-up) and a methodology for describing and finding innovative solutions to problem situations, and it seems to have got visibility in the modern BPM world (Business Process Modelling) having orginated with Genrich Altshuller in 1946 in the Soviet Union in connection with invention, innovation and creativity. (Given my history and interests, suprised I’ve not come across it … you live and learn, never too late, etc … I wonder if it’s any good ? I shall download and play with it, and find out.)

Anyway, I came across its evolution and exploitation in SouthBeach Notation. Which in turn I had come across in a comment (an unashamed plug) in Robert Peston’s Picks on the subject of how concerted global governmental intervention was needed as a “circuit-breaker” as a brake against the “Minsky moment” when markets flee from capital in a self-fulfilling spiral. (BTW making these kinds of connections is precisely what blogging is about, it is never a substitute for jounalism, just an alternative – linkable – medium.)

I was in fact about to blog a link to this role of public intervention in otherwise free markets, into a free-markets discussion in another place ….. This is of course one reason why a share of private-profits must be used to fund public-losses in a “free” market that is to be tolerated in a public environment.

On that original subject …. the financial crisis … interesting that other comments (on Peston’s blog and on MoQ Discuss) recognize that the falling numbers themselves are not really the issue … markets go down as well as up, we are often reminded …. and taking a holiday is as good a break / brake as anything. Roll on real pramatists.

As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve had an enforced hiatus from blogging due to the relocation to Oslo. Two things to note:

(1) After doing some essential overhauls just before going offline in the US, I had added a “simpler” previous posts & archives link to the side-bar, and noted slowness in the rendering of the blog-pages, but I hadn’t noticed the connection. Thanks diagnostic help from Deamhost, I can see the problem and will fix soon, hopefully today. Apologies for the inconvenience, your patience is appreciated.

(2) Secondly, the day we left, a colleague in the US returned the last of 3 Dan Dennett books I’d lent him. “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” (1995). Re-reading it at every available moment travelling and waiting in the last week or so has reminded me why he is my favourite current philosopher. He’s an excellent scientist, philosopher and philsopher of science. He knows when he’s being philosophical, when he’s needing to be scientific, and has the patience of a saint to expose and explain counter arguments whilst recognizing that few have simple logical outcomes beyond the pragmatc “policy” of “significant value-adding” …. and the wit to pull it off.

I can see so many points of contact, that anything I write should be closely linked to Dennett. My whole agenda is a subset of Dennett’s I reckon.

A dense summary – Wherever the intelligence lies, causation, how things came to be the way they are, is an engineering question – creativity is a selection from available options, optimal only so far as permitted by current historical and environmental constraints – you can only ever get there from here. Intention is an explanatory stance in the observer’s hindsight, as if it were in the active participants. The whole thing is a narrative that works. That narrative is an organisation of semantics from available information, information itself being significant difference; Stasis, being or remaining the same is of lower interest, than difference or change. Value-adding is about adding significant value to the narrative. First-cause is simply the cause before the earliest one so far explained in the narrative, but is not in itself a reason to presume a miraculous sky-hook, except as a holiday from explaining and philosophising, and never a reason for a sky-hook as an alternative to a crane later in the engineering narrative.

OK so another football story.

Relocating from the US to Norway, visiting in the UK along the way we’ve been a little out of touch without the internet until yesterday. We missed that Reading’s first away win of the season was Wolve’s first home defeat 3:0 last Tuesday, after the 4:0 win against Swansea last Saturday, and yesterday we caught the 3:1 win against manager-of-the-month Burnley on-line. We are in unheard of territory … goals-for averaging 3.5 per game, and the highest goal-difference in the Championship, now only 2 points behind Wolves and 3 off Birmingham in top spot.

We’ll be changing the club name from Reading Royals to Reading Irish next.