If you are one of the many people out there looking for a job, the NonProfit Times has a good article on how to be effective in the second interview.
(What about the first interview? I guess they skipped that one. A good book for job-seekers that covers the first interview and a lot more is What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.)
Malcolm Gladwell reviews Chris Anderson’s new book Free: The Future of a Radical Price. (Chris Anderson is the editor of Wired and the author of the 2006 best-seller The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.)
The OS will be open source, lightweight and have “speed, simplicity and security” at its core. The lightweight and simple aspects are clear from the fact that the OS is going to be initially targeted at netbooks–it’s absolutely a separate project from Android.
As if that’s not enough, the way Google appears to be re-thinking an OS is completely new. Chrome OS is designed to be instant-on, with a minimal interface and most of the user experience will happen via web interactions. Chrome will run within a “new windowing system” superimposed on a Linux kernel, and the whole thing will work like it’s in a browser. Consequently “all web-based applications will automatically work” so developers will supposedly be able to write software that runs on Chrome, and in browsers on Windows, OS X and Linux machines.
From economist Greg Mankiw’s blog:
Advocates of government-run health insurance like to point to Medicare’s low administrative costs (which, as I noted yesterday, is a controversial claim). But even if that factual claim were true, the argument would hardly be dispositive as to the greater efficiency of a publicly run system. As I put it in my recent Times article, “True, Medicare’s administrative costs are low, but it is easy to keep those costs contained when a system merely writes checks without expending the resources to control wasteful medical spending.”
The bottom line: Low administrative costs are not to be confused with high administrative efficiency. In other words, administrators are not necessarily a deadweight loss to the system.
This was a helpful article by Rohit Bhargava summarizing “10 standout conclusions” from a recent analytics report on Twitter by the media analytics company Sysomos.
One interesting fact: Tuesday is the best day to tweet something.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune, as I have, of dropping your iPhone on concrete, here is some good news from the Infinite Loop blog:
An iPhone falls to the ground in slow motion and makes its first impact on a corner. You watch as the cracks branch out over the screen like a spiderweb. If it hasn’t happened to you, it has happened to someone you know—and now, Apple can fix it on the spot at one of its retail locations.
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop has confirmed that Apple retail stores have begun performing this in-house repair with what amounts to a big suction cup in the back. The machine separates the broken glass from the rest of your precious iPhone, letting the technician install a shiny new one.
The cost will be $199, and it is not covered under warranty or Apple Care.
Fast Company has a good overview of 25 highly useful (and/or interesting) iPhone apps.
What’s more effective — getting up early or staying up late? Or both?
From Stephen Covey and Rebecca Merrill’s book First Things First:
The common denominator of success is not hard work, astute human relations, or luck, although all are important. It is putting first things first.
Great news. Except that that among all the things they listed (and all the other things they could have listed), that’s the hardest to do.
With the fourth of July coming up, it’s a good time to review the Declaration of Independence.
The Two Best Paragraphs in the Declaration
The first two paragraphs in the document give you an entire philosophy of government in themselves:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Fundamental Principles of Government from the Declaration
A few of the principles of government that we see here are:
- All people are created equal.
- Therefore all people have certain unalienable rights. Chief among these rights are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the ability to own property (not stated here, but in the original draft).
- These rights are given by God.
- Therefore, our rights are not “privileges” granted or controlled by the government. They exist prior to and apart from the government, and the government must respect them.
- Therefore, government exists for the sake of the people, not the people for the sake of the government. Government does not have a right to lord it over the people.
- Instead, government exists to preserve and protect these rights. Government is not ultimately about control.
- The government cannot do anything it chooses. There are certain things that are wrong for a government to do, even apart from impressively stated arguments for their pragmatic value.
- The rights of the people are more important than the desires of the government.
- Government derives its powers from the consent of the governed; the people do not derive their rights from the will or choice of the government.
- People have the right to abolish their government when it becomes destructive of these ends.
This is simply radical. Really, we should be stunned and immensely grateful that our society came to recognize these truths. In a world where so many people seek after power, it is incredible that a government should come to exist which acknowledges that the power of government is not ultimate.
The Single Governing Principle of Government
We can roll all of these principles up into a single, governing principle of human government: the purpose of government is to protect and maximize the freedom of the people. And people have this freedom because they are all created equal (so people in government are not “more equal” than the private citizen — even when they are working for the “collective good”) and endowed with intrinsic rights that they hold simply by virtue of being human.
In order for government to accomplish this purpose, there are two necessary implications, both of which are embodied in our Constitution:
- Limited government.
- Separation of powers.
What True Liberalism Is
The principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, by the way, are what “liberalism” really is. Today the term “liberal” is used to refer to policies that seek to expand the place of government and give it a greater role in people’s lives. That’s not liberal — that’s conservative.
It’s conservative because it seeks to conserve the way the world functioned for thousands of years before the American Revolution — namely, a world where government saw its power as ultimate, rather than the God-given rights of the people as prior to the power of government.
What today is called “conservatism,” on the other hand, actually used to be called political liberalism because it advocated for change from the government-first ideology that dominated for almost all of human history before that. It advocated for the principles that we see outlined in the Declaration. That’s why on my Facebook profile I put my political views as classical liberalism.
By the way, you can read the whole Declaration of Independence here.
From Fast Company: “A team of MIT mathematicians has developed a model that describes how and under what conditions such jams form, which could help road designers minimize the odds of their formation.”
Two major airline crashes in the last month is tragic. Fast Company has an interesting article on “why, in the 21st Century, do aircraft keep plummeting out of the sky?” I gave some of my answer last month in my posts on why airplane crashes happen and the role of communication styles in airplane crashes, following Gladwell’s excellent discussion in Outliers.
I focused on the accumulation of minor difficulties and seemingly trivial malfunctions that in themselves are inconsequential, but taken all together result in catastrophe. The Fast Company article looks in more detail at the difficulty of flying, the complexity of aircraft, and the adversary of the weather.
In spite of the recent crashes, air travel is still incredibly safe. (Although I prepare to die every time I fly — irrational, I know, but probably good for the soul! And ironically, this becomes more true the more I fly, which is about once or twice a month.)
At the end of the article they have a video of every global flight in a single day. Here it is as well:
Also in the article is a video of an aircraft trying to land in some vicious crosswinds, which I’ve also embedded here:
If you think about crashing when you fly, it’s worth noting that the most dangerous times are take-off and landing. As the article points out: “It’s at these times, when the aircraft is close to the ground and experiencing some of its greatest structural loads, generally flying slowly and contending with weather effects like crosswinds, that the most accidents occur.”
One last thing: It is interesting to me that, in regard to the two crashes in the last month, both planes were Airbuses. It has been pointed out that they were very differently configured Airbuses, but that doesn’t matter much to me. Other than the TVs right in the back of the seats, I can’t stand Airbuses. I recently had to fly on some during two legs of my trip to China, and the plane often felt like it was going to fall apart. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a marked contrast to the 747 we had on another leg of the trip.
From Seth Godin:
This is one of the great cultural touchstone slogans of our era. A culture where there’s so much to eat we need to try to find a food that we can eat even if we’re stuffed.
Often, we’ll decide that something is full, stuffed, untouchable but then some Jello shows up, and suddenly there’s room.
Think about your schedule… is there room for an emergency, an SEC investigation, a server crash? If you took a day off because of the flu, is your business going to go bankrupt? Probably not.
So, if there’s time for an emergency (Jello), why isn’t there time for brilliance, generosity or learning?
Here are the enhancements and refinements that are coming with Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
I’ve picked one of them up and it is indeed much faster. Now, it now longer takes 2 minutes for my OmniFocus app to open up (the 2,345 actions or something like that tended to bog it down). Also, it’s great to have video.
I’ve made it back from China and spent the last week or so catching up on some things. It was an excellent trip. I really like China and its people, and we learned a ton.
One of my colleagues on the trip is an incredible photographer. If interested, he has posted some of his pictures online. His shots are amazing not only for capturing some of the feel of China, but also as examples of excellent photography in themselves.
I’ve posted some of my pictures also. They aren’t even in the same ballpark in terms of quality, but here they are.
Our guide during our time did a superb job showing us around, teaching us about the culture, and setting up very good meetings with various people. She also maintains a very enjoyable blog on life in China that is worth checking out.
I probably won’t blog much else on the trip itself, although you can see my real-time twitter posts on my twitter page. Here would be two brief observations/lessons:
- The impact of economic freedom. The reforms that went into place beginning in the 80s to give the Chinese people greater economic freedom completely transformed the nation. They brought it from poverty to stunning economic prosperity. Obviously there is still a ways to go, but the economic transformation of China is a testimony to how capitalism, not socialism, enables a nation to support itself and then prosper. This provides real jobs for people and opportunity. It is unfortunate that many in our nation want to go the opposite direction, and utterly ironic that a communist nation sees the value of economic freedom more than some of the leaders here.
- The productive value of getting up super early. Early in the trip I would wake up at 3 am. It is amazing how much you can accomplish by getting up that early. But, it’s hard to sustain. When this happened again once I was back, I found it more exhausting than productive. But now that I’m back to normal in my sleep patterns, I may try this again sometime.
- Chopsticks are awesome.