Recent discoveries

I’m going to try to gather bits of things I come across into a public file that I update as I come across ideas that strike me. We’ll see how regularly I actually update this, but I’m going to try.


Nov 12, 2015
Passage from War and Peace on complete understanding (ht Blake Hunsicker):

  • “It is beyond the power of the human intellect to encompass all the causes of any phenomenon. But the impulse to search into causes is inherent in man’s very nature.”

Is Design Dead? by Martin Fowler on planned design versus evolutionary design in software development.

Oct 26. 2015
18F’s series on technical debt has been really helpful to follow.

  • “In the first post, we explained the dangers of technical debt and why it’s important to understand. In the second post, we gave you a description of what technical debt is and why it’s not all bad. In the third post, we gave you concrete steps for managing technical debt. And, in the last post, we provided you with advice on how to prevent or mitigate technical debt accumulating in the first place.

The Real World of Technology by Ursula Franklin continues to be amazing. I just need to find time to finish it.

  • “One has to keep in mind how much the technology of doing something defines the activity itself, and, by doing so, precludes the emergence of other ways of doing ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ might be.”

Purchased: Continuities in Cultural Evolution by Margaret Mead. It’s a beast of a book.


Oct 22, 2015
Mary Catherine Bateson
on On Being

  • Homemaking: The creation of a safe, comfortable place in which to learn.
  • Makes reference to evolutionary clusters, which was defined by Bateson’s mother, Margaret Mead as “an intercommunicating group of human beings who stand at some crucial point of divergence in a process of culture change”.
  • The definition above is drawn from the abstract of Mead’s Continuities in Cultural Evolution, which I have not read, but think I will. Another line from the abstract: “[the author] points of the extent to which human evolution is dependent on transmissible inventions.”

Came across a number of good resources through Howard Silverman’s Design for organizational learning: US military

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