Posted by: Nicholas Davis | September 5, 2009

The posts I haven’t written (yet)

Today is the first day in a long time that there hasn’t been anything specific planned beyond my usual to-do list and household tasks – and so the first time in almost a month that I’ve been able to just walk, sit, read and think about life without any pending appointments or urgent work to distract me. It’s been an amazing day in Geneva, by the way.

This is also therefore a good time for me to dump some of the random ideas for blog posts that I’ve had over the last few weeks but been unable to commit to the series of tubes (a lot of these ideas I send to my gmail account for safe keeping). Keeping in mind my extreme susceptibility to availability bias, here we go:

  • On entropy, or how we know that time runs in one direction only and why plates don’t spontaneously clean themselves (with thanks to Eric Beinhocker).
  • On the tension between the benefits of writing in plain, clear language and pressure to adopt specialized vocabularies to seem an “expert” (hat tip to Gary Becker).
  • On the acquisition of a new ipod touch filled with my father’s music and how that has proved the most relaxing thing to happen to me in the last few weeks, despite initial fears that more stuff brings more stress (thanks Dad!).
  • On stress-levels in general and dealing with what I’ve been calling “high base-level stress” (you know you’re in trouble when the thought of owning a new MacBook Pro causes anxiety instead of pleasure).
  • On the role of trust in financial services (one of my current work projects, on which I will be producing a draft hopefully by tomorrow night, fingers crossed).
  • On turning the issue of sustainability from a burden into an opportunity via a beautiful vision for the future (thanks to Helio Mattar).
  • Related, on viewing population growth as a blessing for the world rather than a threat to resources and quality of life (thanks to McDonough and Braungart).
  • On meditation, and my seeming inability to find time to do it.
  • On the evolutionary implications of the “Anthropocene“, arguably the current era in earth’s history marked by the human race’s ability to massively shape its environment, both intentionally and inadvertently. I’m wondering if the “fitness landscape” for which we evolved dictated a relatively short-term and localized focus on acquiring the resources and status for reproduction, and our collaborative sensibilities are geared to that scale of cooperation; now that we have, thanks to technology, the ability seriously to impact our environment, are we evolutionarily unfit to actually manage it for the common good? (Thanks to Gideon Henderson and all the people in the ‘Metastrategy’ session at the ALR last weekend).
  • On the tension between “truth”, “precision” and “usefulness” – how can we be more approximately right than precisely wrong?
  • Related, on defining a “problem”. With thanks to Gareth Morgan and the contributors to Beyond Method.
  • Using scenarios to combat cognitive and psychological biases. Seriously this time.
  • On the crazy dream I had a while ago about two cloned triplets looking for their missing self. One day I’m going to be a bad sci-fi writer, I swear.

There are a probably a few more topics running around my subconscious, but tonight I don’t have anything to do except combat the entropy that has filled the apartment with kind-of-useful pieces of paper, unidentified electronic cables and single socks. So hopefully either they’ll emerge or I’ll gather the willpower to pick one of these topics and add some more structured thoughts to the oversupply of opinion and random thought that is the web.

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  1. I would love to read all of them. Especially the one about the two cloned triplets…that sounds a winner.

    But I digress…thought I would throw some more matter into the pot.

    1) On stress levels, meditation and being mindful I’m going to the ‘that guy’ that comments and then links to his own blog posts…

    2) Mindfulness still, this guy is a gun. I can snail-mail you some stuff if you like.

    3) Trust in the financial system: wow – huge/big rock at the moment. I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this one particularly.

    4) Writing clearly when writing ‘importantly’ are in direct competition. Tough gig. Keen to hear how you combat this.

  2. Thanks for the comment and links Steve, and also for the email re the “secret mission”. Drum roll.

    Crag Hassed looks like a pretty laid back guy. Would love to receive a package if you have a moment by the photocopier and someone to do the hard bit of going to the post office! I’ll send you some trust stuff as it’s ticking along and I’m trying to refine a model – your ideas would be appreciated.

    Finally, writing clearly is often about knowing what you are saying (first hard bit) then knowing your audience well (second hard bit). I have to relearn “academic-management-speak” now for my doctorate and am wishing I didn’t have to.

    Think I’ll have to find time to write one of those posts soon…

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