Snowpocalypse and Links

In Florida my favorite impractical-but-fantastical hurricane tradition was to include copious amounts of ice cream in my supplies hoard.  When the power inevitably failed we’d have no choice but to eat that ice cream in various stages of meltiness until the storm stopped.

Snow is new to me; I’m still working on firm traditions.  But I can confirm that what inchoate traditions I’ve got include just two elements: 1) whiskey; and 2) walking, esp during exams, when I’m inured to caffeine and seeking better drugs.

This morning against my will I added a new dimension to my snowy repertoire: Driving.  After dropping folks off at Union Station well before dawn my GPS directed my lovely, snowy tour of the Hill.  Something I’d gladly do again, now that I know how.

Here are the links fit to, well, link today:

Rashida Jones’s Life in Comics, based on a Paris Hilton fantasy:

On Architecture and the State: Why Beauty Matters:

This American attitude has something healthy about it, but it tends to go with two quite erroneous assumptions about beauty and the aesthetic. The first assumption is that beauty is an entirely subjective matter, about which there can be no reasoned argument and concerning which it is futile to search for a consensus. The second assumption, congenial to those who adopt the first, is that beauty doesn’t matter, that it is a value without economic reality, which cannot be allowed to place any independent constraint on the workings of the market.

Roger Pilon’s preoccupation with climate politics is so endearing:

The single-minded arrogance we’ve come to expect from environmental zealots runs through the CLI report. Nowhere, for example, do we find any concern for the world’s poor, who will suffer most from the proposed policies. Indeed, one imagines that, deep down, they and their appetites are seen as the ultimate environmental problem. Nor do we see any concern for the niceties of democratic legitimacy. The people be damned: If Congress balks, Obama can veto anything they might do, and let the chips fall where they may.

Star Trek and Girl Gamers: Exploring the Computer Science Gender Gap:

Cheryan and co-researchers believe that by creating more neutral appearing spaces will help combat stereotypes and improve diversity in the computer science field.

Cheryan is correct in thinking perception matters in how people place themselves in different roles. But as a geeky girl gamer, I think that focusing on the internal motivations for why women avoid stereotypical or gendered areas (i.e., “I just don’t think I belong”) obscures the nature of societal norms to influence women away from engaging in the maths and sciences, especially as they are considered male dominated spaces.

Fantastic, delectable article about the “dramatic promise of insurance”:

Insurance, like accounting, seems irreparably undramatic.  While it plays an inevitable part in our collective experience, the work of insurance and its practitioners seems gray and faceless.  Insurance is rarely at the heart of a novel, play, or movie.  By contrast, the work of doctors, lawyers, police, and even government officials readily inhabits our cultural fantasies.  In imagination, these working lives seem defined by crises in which life is at stake and morality is at issue; personalities involved in such crises can seem larger than life.

How business school has ruined American productivity:

Since 1965, the percentage of graduates of highly-ranked business schools who go into consulting and financial services has doubled, from about one-third to about two-thirds. And while some of these consultants and financiers end up in the manufacturing sector, in some respects that’s the problem. Harvard business professor Rakesh Khurana, with whom I discussed these questions at length, observes that most of GM’s top executives in recent decades hailed from a finance rather than an operations background. (Outgoing GM CEO Fritz Henderson and his failed predecessor, Rick Wagoner, both worked their way up from the company’s vaunted Treasurer’s office.) But these executives were frequently numb to the sorts of innovations that enable high-quality production at low cost. As Khurana quips, “That’s how you end up with GM rather than Toyota.”


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