Childrensaving and Ship Building (NB: it’s Shipbuilding, all one word)

Currently, Wallsend is having its children saved. Hurrah.

Childrensaving is happening, thanks to a government-funded programme, delivered by a national children’s charity, saviours of  children, heroes in their own lunchtime {a lunch of rocket, kale and organic polenta, to be precise}.

This is part of the ongoing long-term —some things are long-term, aren’t they— the ongoing long-term deracination and outsourcing of the role of local government in the public realm.

Successive governments, red and blue and yellow, have decided that local government can’t be trusted. Central government prefers to impose 3rd sector agencies from London on communities, because local government is infested with a ‘can’t-do’ mentality and is bogged down in local politics and can’t make the thrusting managerialist interventions, on absurdly short timescales [ie. before the next election], that politicians command but can’t control.

If you wanted to talk about shipbuilding to people in Wallsend, which is the topic today, BTW, you might start by learning that shipbuilding is all one word, it’s not Ship Building. A ship building would be the hut in which you keep your little rowing boat, by a river bank. Or is it riverbank? A river bank would be a bank in which you keep rivers, or something.

So anyway, here is The Theory Which Will Transform Wallsend, starting from the ‘Past Context’ of “Ship Buildings (Lost)”…Wallsend Children_s Community Initial Overarching Theory of Change

And here is another Theory of Change…

 

You’re all busy people who don’t have time to listen to some bloody lefty pop song from 1982, so here’s the lyrics for all you busy managers who need it one side of A4 by 9 o’clock tomorrow morning…

Is it worth it?
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we’ll be shipbuilding
Well, I ask you
The boy said, Dad, they’re going to take me to Task
But I’ll be back by Christmas?
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of  The shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks, they’ll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin, once again
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls

 

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Thinking in Systems

 Donella H. Meadows
“So, what is a system? A system is a set of things—people, cells, molecules, or whatever—interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time. 

A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something. We can’t impose our will on a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.

There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion.

We know a tremendous amount about how the world works, but not nearly enough. Our knowledge is amazing; our ignorance even more so… 

You can drive a system crazy by muddying its information streams. Purposes are deduced from behavior, not from rhetoric or stated goals.

Missing information flows is one of the most common causes of system malfunction. Adding or restoring information can be a powerful intervention, usually much easier and cheaper than rebuilding physical infrastructure. 

Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.

Thou shalt not distort, delay, or withhold information.”

― Donella H. Meadows, 

Thinking in Systems: A Primer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donella_Meadows
Donella H. Meadows (March 13, 1941 – February 20, 2001) was a pioneering American environmental scientist, teacher, and writer. She is best known as lead author of the influential book “The Limits to Growth” and “Thinking in Systems: a Primer”

( from the excellent: https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com )

Why do birds suddenly* appear…

…to flock?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=iRNqhi2ka9k

Google ‘why do starlings flock’.

Actually, I’m being a little unfair, as I haven’t provided you with any ‘starter’ reading. Try these: 

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2011/aug/21/starlings-flock-together-study

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/17/scientists-call-public-help-solve-mystery-of-starlings-murmuration-displays

And here is the famous Boids simulation developed by Craig Reynolds: 

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FChkV9TDsZgC&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=Santa+Fe+Institute+boids+simulation+Chris+Langton+Craig+Reynolds&source=bl&ots=a7eEKUAi0d&sig=ZJsHQG52WoZJIrzXy9TEJzpVaL4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjO7eaYxL3RAhWDuhoKHWxiA-IQ6AEICjAA#v=onepage&q=Santa%20Fe%20Institute%20boids%20simulation%20Chris%20Langton%20Craig%20Reynolds&f=false

~•~

Then we can have a discussion about what constitutes an explanation. For you. For scientists. For others…

____________

*Regrettably, it isn’t because, 

“They want to be

Close to you.”

Why I love my possessions as a mirror and a gallery of me | Aeon Essays

“Were I to live without my stuff, I’d have the same intellect, the same memories, values and beliefs that I hold now; but, without objects anchoring me and providing pleasure, I fear I’d fly off the face of the Earth. I know I’d be a miserable version of that self, endlessly muttering: ‘I used to have one of those.’ As Belk reminds us, people entering the military, religious orders, concentration camps, prisons and other institutions have their personal possessions removed immediately, to eliminate their uniqueness.

Shorn of my possessions, I would still be me. But, I suspect, not for long.”

Go read it.

https://aeon.co/essays/why-i-love-my-possessions-as-a-mirror-and-a-gallery-of-me

The Evolution of Cooperation

​The Evolution of Cooperation, is, if I recall correctly a book by Robert Axelrod, or his brother. It uses game theory to explain how a strategy called ‘forgiving tit for tat’ conquers all others.

And here it is, in a cat video.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1612948815397998&id=100000486847440