This physicist says consciousness could be a new state of matter – ScienceAlert

Follow the link, which, rather like a network of neurons, leads to more links.   My frontal lobes haven’t been this excited since I read Douglas Hofstadter’s EGB, a book so heavy that even in paperback it has its own gravitational field. And that was when it first came out in paperback, mid 80s I’m guessing.

Nobody seems to know what to make of it at this very early stage, so far be it for me to try.
 Go read. But take it slow, pause every minute or so, to let the mind deboggle…

Promoting Play. Promoting Good Things when other folk don’t want to pay for them.

The photo is murky, the image indistinct and semantically unfocused, the typeface is a let’s make it look like handwriting but not comic sans (2 marks for that) and most of all, the quote is bogus. 

Why was this chosen to promote “Play”?

What does it mean? It’s fuzzy, didactic and unmemorable. Something about a spark. The words are dead cliché words. 

Who is the It? Is it the spark or the child? Yes, I know, it’s supposed to be the spark, but the subject of the sentence is the child. 

Lighting the path? Only one path? Really? Not many, why not? Branching paths? No, just THE PATH. The Great One* has spoken. 

For the Adult to be?!? Teleological piffle! The Serious and Ironic Crime Squad have been informed. 

Play is not preparation for adulthood, play is “that’s it, that’s what happened” to quote Miles Davis. It’s easy to understand backwards isn’t it, Søren?

*Soreen malt loaf was named after the philosopher, btw.

*The Great One would appear to be the awesome Charles Hawtrey (1914 –1988), born as George Frederick Joffre Hartree, was an English comedy actor and musician. Starred in the Carry On films and was known …

Why urban myths about education are so persistent – and how to tackle them

To be written.
 Relevant to anybody helping people work together to do things better.

Call yourself a gardener?

I’m no Bob Flowerdew, or Beth Chatto, but I can recognise systems thinking and green fingers when I see them.


#systems thinking

#no fertiliser, no weedkiller

#low and decreasing carbon footprint

#increased yield and quality

#now that’s what I call whole systems thinking

And yes, this kind of thinking is domain transferrable*, or rather to use a horticulturally systemic metaphor: the insights can be transplanted


*meaning that the insights to be gained from examining the system and processes in flow in this context, CAN be transferred to thinking in a simar manner in different contexts. There is some contextual systemic isomorphism (CSI)


The real gorilla in the room: RIP Harambe


Since the Cincinnati Zoo made the decision to shoot their silverback gorilla Harambe in order to save a little boy’s life last week, lots of people have been weighing in…

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the mighty, the scary, the awesome:

Gorilla Of Unintended Consequences.

“She… explains that zoo enclosures have become less safe in an effort to offer unimpeded views to visitors. The fact that this has been an unnoticed problem until now doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a problem all along.” 

In more recent decades, zoos have begun to redesign enclosures, removing all obvious caging and attempting to create a seamless view of the animals for the visitor to enjoy watching animals in a more natural looking habitat. *this is great until little children begin falling into exhibits* which of course can happen to anyone, especially in a crowded zoo-like setting.

O‘Donoughue has watched the tapes too. The soft-hearted amongst us may think Harambe is holding hands with the toddler in the same friendly way a human would, but gorillas are not humans and you can’t read their body language in the same way…

So, IMHO, the real gorilla in the room is the sadly very much alive and kicking  Gorilla Of Unintended Consequences.

One feels moved to ask: what is the purpose of a zoo? They all have different raisins-detray (yes, I know that’s not how you spell it).

Mr. Checkland, of SSM fame would say: POSIWID – The Purpose Of the System Is What It Does. Maybe the purpose of this zoo is to maximise visitor numbers to in turn maximise revenue. Maybe it is ‘to improve animal shootings, year on year.’

Whatever it is, this sad case is a perfect example of the Gorilla Of Unintended Consequences.






The Magic beneath Food Truck Location

ice-cream-van-roma-cafe-mid-40'sBack in 2012, the U.S. food truck industry for the first time blew past the $1 billion revenue mark (it in fact reached $1.5 billion that year), making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the national food and restaurant market. Still, food trucks are often seen as the enemy of local restaurants. Just as cab drivers have taken to protesting Uber and other ride-hailing services, brick-and-mortar restaurant groups have rallied in cities across the nation to ban or limit food trucks.

But what do food trucks actually mean for urban economies? What impact do they have on local restaurants, food industries, and our choices as consumers?


A recent study from Elliot Anenberg of the Washington, D.C. Federal Reserve System and Edward Kung of UCLA takes a detailed look at the economy and geography of food trucks in our nation’s cities. To get at this, the study uses unique data on food trucks from the U.S. Census Bureau and a dataset of daily Washington, D.C. food truck locations, as well as social media data from Twitter and Google Trends. The study is particularly interested in the connection between food trucks and new digital technologies—especially social media—and how food trucks make use of them. Here are its five big takeaways.

via The Secrets to Food Truck Location – CityLab.


1. Twitter is a big factor in food truck location.

Food-seeking flocking behaviour.

2. The connection between food trucks and digital technology is greater in big, dense cities.

Network effect, more nodes, and more importantly, more connections. Check out Valdis Krebs.

3. When it comes to location, variety matters a lot.

We, birds, humans, weasels, get bored eating the same stuff. And to maintain health we need to eat different stuff. Variety matters. Duh.

4. Food truck location is spiky.

Even normal economics understands this power law effect.

5. Food trucks cause households to spend more money on eating out.

See 3 and 2.


Complexity fans will have spotted the lack of underpinning theory in the otherwise excellent CityLab piece. So I provided it, in bold italics. You’re welcome.