Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-06-19

  • Don’t scar on the first cut — Signal v. Noise
    Policies are organizational scar tissue. They are codified overreactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again. They are collective punishment for the misdeeds of an individual.
    This is how bureaucracies are born. No one sets out to create a bureaucracy. They sneak up on companies slowly. They are created one policy?—?one scar?—?at a time.
    So don’t scar on the first cut. Don’t create a policy because one person did something wrong once. Policies are only meant for situations that come up over and over again.

  • The worst thing I read this year, and what it taught me… or Can we design sociotechnical systems that don’t suck? | … My heart’s in Accra
    how do we help smart, well-meaning people address social problems in ways that make the world better, not worse? In other words, is it possible to get beyond both a naïve belief that the latest technology will solve social problems and a reaction that rubbishes any attempt to offer novel technical solutions as inappropriate, insensitive and misguided? Can we find a synthesis in which technologists look at their work critically and work closely with the people they’re trying to help in order to build sociotechnical systems that address hard problems?

    ….

    Many hard problems require you to step back and consider whether you’re solving the right problem. If your solution only mitigates the symptoms of a deeper problem, you may be calcifying that problem and making it harder to change. Cheaper, safer prisons make it easier to incarcerate more Americans and avoid addressing fundamental problems of addiction, joblessness, mental illness and structural racism.

  • My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation | Mother Jones
    Residents are proud of the fact that three governors came from Winnfield. They are less proud that the last sheriff was locked up for dealing meth.

  • Utah police employ “porn-sniffing” dog / Boing Boing
    URL (the dog’s name) is specifically trained to sniff out electronic storage devices such as thumb drives, cellphones, SIM cards, SD cards, external hard drives, tablets and iPads.

  • Mastering Programming
    Risk

    Fun list. When tangential ideas come, note them and get back to work quickly. Revisit this list when you’ve reached a stopping spot.
    Feed Ideas. Ideas are like frightened little birds. If you scare them away they will stop coming around. When you have an idea, feed it a little. Invalidate it as quickly as you can, but from data not from a lack of self-esteem.
    80/15/5. Spend 80% of your time on low-risk/reasonable-payoff work. Spend 15% of your time on related high-risk/high-payoff work. Spend 5% of your time on things that tickle you, regardless of payoff. Teach the next generation to do your 80% job. By the time someone is ready to take over, one of your 15% experiments (or, less frequently, one of your 5% experiments) will have paid off and will become your new 80%. Repeat.

  • Glitch City – BLDGBLOG
    Sites of urban infrastructure and other industrial facilities integral to municipal management, from fire stations to fuel depots, appear to be the target of deliberate erasure in Baidu’s street maps.

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