From the dust of the former Hewlett Packard campus in Cupertino, a glass and concrete ring is taking shape. Apple is building a new headquarters, and it's going to be bigger than the Pentagon. KQED got a tour and a look at the campus' green features.
Terry Elliott's insight:
Classic battle between what Christopher Alexander and Co. call System A and System B. Were any of the end users involved in the design "on the ground" like they were in Alexander's work with the Eisin School in Japan? I think we need to come up with a new word here for the 'beyond hubris' this apple architecture represents.
Paraphrasing Gregory Bateson: a species that fights with its ecology is eventually 'rewarded' by that ecology. Naseem Nicholas Taleb in recent years has tried to address this issue by coining the term 'anti-fragile'. This excerpt from The Guardian puts this unusual term in a context that resonated for me--bindweed.
"Bindweed is a thing of evil genius. Try to dig it up and it breaks into pieces, each of which will grow into a new plant. More than just robust or flexible, it actively thrives on disruption. Yet we lack a word for this property – which Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes as the exact opposite of fragility. So he has given it one: antifragility.
Taleb argues that antifragility is essential for dealing with the subject of the book that made his name: black swans. These are rare, unpredictable events for which we can never be fully prepared. What we can do, however, is locate the fragility in the system and reduce it. "Not seeing a tsunami or an economic event coming is excusable," he writes; "building something fragile to them is not."
For all its vaunted cash reserves and tech prowess, Apple is little more aware than the farm-raised turkey a few days before Thanksgiving. Fragile. Full of hubris. Waiting for the next black swan that, while impossible to anticipate is possible to prepare for. This building is not 'anti-fragile'.
As always I try to extend this observation to my own worklife as a university instructor. Question: is what I am doing in the classroom helping to create anti-fragile citizens and learners? Question: is the direction of university governance/leadership trending toward the anti-fragile? I think that as a 1000-year institution, the university has proven itself reliably anti-fragile, but is what is happening in public and private institutions reinforcing that valuable characteristic or are we making them more fragile?
The bindweed has evolved naturally. Can we help universities evolve similarly? What makes institutions anti-fragile? That is a very worthy and essential question. What do you think?
Hoopbenders is an awesome company and I have bought a few items from them with no regret. I am going to get a couple of hoopbenders and a kit from them. Shipping seems a little high but the product is worth it.
Soylent workers are people. I am astonished and appalled simultaneously. Not an easy match. This add-on for Word mashes up with Amazon Turk to get real folk to edit your work. Any English major want to work for Amazon Turk?
IBM's predictions all involve big data and using computing to glean intelligence from vast systems. We discuss them with IBM's research boss.
Terry Elliott's insight:
I especially liked the education and local buying predictions. How will the web help us? I like the positive vibe behind this question. Might be a good research question for next semesters research paper or a long blog post: how will the web help us help learners?
The irony of the UK rolling out its first "super fast" 4G network last week, courtesy of EE, won't be lost on consumers for too long: we can now burn through our rationed mobile data plans even faster.
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