Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, December 9, 2002day link 

 Underground Explorers
picture Google seems to think I'm somewhat of an authority on Underground Living. Which I'm not. I've always had a dream of having an underground house. And, also, I'm really fascinated by stories of exploration of underground caves or tunnels, such as the forgotten infra-structure under big cities.

Like, see this site about abandoned stations in the London Underground, including the one that Churchill used as a command center during WWII.

Sometimes it involves illegally sneaking around in the steam tunnels under universities and that kind of thing. Building-hacking, tunnel-hacking. See sites like Urban Explorer, Dark Passage, Forgotten New York, Virginia Tech Urban Exploration or Modern Ruins. Great fun.
[ | 2002-12-09 14:01 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Demotivators
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This company makes posters that are take-offs on those inspiring, motivational posters, with beautiful empowering pictures that one would see around the offices of big corporations, or that employees would be handed as achievement awards. So, these guys turn it around, and pretend that they do the opposite - give you pessimistic demotivators that sort of cut you down to size, or a little lower. But, aside from the fact that they're very funny, the brilliant and ingenious thing about them is that they're actually not mean and pessimistic at all, if you look a little deeper. On the contrary, they all seem to deliver some clever wisdom when you look at things a little deeper. Like that one there: "Hard work often pays off after time. But laziness always pays off now." Sure, why work hard when you can work smarter. Life is lived right now, not next week, so no big need to suffer. Or that one here on Indifference: "It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile. But it doesn't take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face." And it has this picture of a majestic leopard who just lies there without moving a muscle. There's something zen about it all.
[ | 2002-12-09 15:05 | 15 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Storytelling
Steve Denning talks about the role of storytelling in transforming organizations. He has a book: The Springboard - How storytelling ignites action in knowledge-era organizations.
"I found that a certain sort of story enables change by providing direct access to the living part of the organization. It communicates complicated change ideas while generating momentum towards rapid implementation. It helps an organization reinvent itself.

Storytelling gets inside the minds of the individuals who collectively make up the organization and affects how they think, worry, wonder, agonize and dream about themselves and in the process create and recreate their organization. Storytelling enables the individuals in an organization to see themselves and the organization in a different light, and accordingly take decisions and change their behavior in accordance with these new perceptions, insights and identities.

The attractions of narrative are obvious. Storytelling is natural and easy and entertaining and energizing. Stories help us understand complexity. Stories can enhance or change perceptions. Stories are easy to remember. Stories are inherently non-adversarial and non-hierarchical. They bypass normal defense mechanisms and engage our feelings."

[ | 2002-12-09 15:31 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Solar Cell Breakthrough
picture ScienceaGoGo reports on a discovery in materials for solar cells. It is sort of technical, but in brief the discovery is that an alloy of indium gallium nitride can convert pretty much the full spectrum of our sunlight, from the near infrared to the far ultraviolet, into electrical current. If they succeed in making practical solar cells of the material, they promise to be rugged, inexpensive, and more efficient than anything seen before.
[ | 2002-12-09 17:04 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Supernova Conference
picture A conference on our decentralized future is going on in Palo Alto right now. I would have liked to be there, but the price was outrageous - $1000 per day. Anyway, all the big names and visionary techies in weblogs and online collaboration are there as speakers and panelists. And that makes it rather interesting to follow, as all those guys are sitting with their WiFi connected laptops and updating their weblogs in close to real time. You can see an automatically updated list of them here, thanks to trackback technology that keeps track of who links to what. Doc Searls is saying many good things. I'm not sure what it adds up to, other than that there's obviously a lot of energy in the air, and decentralization and peer-to-peer and collaboration and anything wireless is good.
[ | 2002-12-09 22:16 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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