"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
-C. S. Lewis
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Western values 'are causing mental illness'. Interesting. The Japanese are falling apart because they are moving away from a group focused model to one of individualism. This is a fundamental clash with traditional values. The Japanese have proved very adaptable to business trends (until about 10 years ago). They've favored the kieretsu and Zaibatsu model. One that kills struggling companies off in favor of the big boys. This worked well to protect their domestic business in the 80's but organizations this large are now unable to respond to the smaller, more nimble competition. Japanese banks have dropped the interest rate on lending to nearly zero in an attempt to spurn growth through borrowing and investing but with little luck. Western and even domestic managers are now realizing they're going to have to adopt the individually focused model to increase employee productivity. There is a common mispreception that the Japanese salaryman who works until 10 or 11 pm are working hard. Not so. Mostly, it's about face time. The longer you're at the office, the more you are working. It has nothing to do with how much you actually accomplish, just how much time you spend at the office. This is not uncommon here in the US either. Lazy and often stupid, managers associate time in the office with dedication or productivity.
This change may just be the one thing that allows Japan to bounce back from the "Asian Flu" they caught 10 years ago.
Today's the day. Nine years gone and the rest of our lives to go.
This blog honors Sean Thomas Lugano
I knew Sean casually. We went to college together and were on the rugby team together. He was much better than I was. He was very fast and much stronger than he looked. Sean was one of those guys who was reserved but very funny. He wasn't one of those guys who garnered attention by being outrageous or demonstrative. He was just there, always with a smile and quick with a laugh or a joke. He took a lot of flack in college because of his modeling career. He used to model to make money for college and the idea of a rugby player being a model seemed absurd. The only commercial I ever saw him in was for The Gap and ironically, he was playing rugby in the commercial. That seemed to redeem him somewhat in the eyes of his teammates and we didn't rib him much after that.
I didn't know Sean well enough to keep in touch with him after college. Occasionally, I'd see him in th…
Obamacare's Big Thinkers Forgot to Bring in the Doers - Bloomberg: "The yawning gap between what the IT people knew and what everyone else seems to have realized is staggering. Now, I’ve worked on some projects in which the business units seemed to have some sort of selective deafness that only materialized when we tried to tell them that they couldn’t have their magic fairy computer system that did everything they could imagine, only better, in the three months they wanted it to take, or for the paltry sum that they were willing to spend. And I learned the hard way not to assume that the business units, or even the chief information officer, had heard and understood what you said. That is how I became gifted in the art of writing CYA memos when I was directed to do the unwise or the impossible. "
Elevated carbon dioxide making arid regions greener: "Scientists have long suspected that a flourishing of green foliage around the globe, observed since the early 1980s in satellite data, springs at least in part from the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Now, a study of arid regions around the globe finds that a carbon dioxide “fertilization effect” has, indeed, caused a gradual greening from 1982 to 2010."
I have often argued that since CO2 is plant food it cannot be pollution. It merely causes an increase in plant life wherever the CO2 happens to be. IIRC there was a huge spike in ocean algae in the past due to high CO2 levels. The Earth wants to survive. It adapts to do so. It is not static as some would have you believe. It changes. Even when man comes in and screws everything up (c.f. Salton Sea) the ecology adjusts and rolls on. Even Chernobyl is teeming with life. It may be different than it was but life goes on.
What is …