Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Just snippets this morning.

Regular commenter kvd is always an interesting source. He pointed me to this article: High-frequency trading is cuckoo. You may have to register (it's free) to access it. I really wasn't clear on just what high frequency trading was. On the surface, the ASX itself would appear to be guilt of at least facilitating insider trading.

Over at skepticslawyer, Lorenzo has joined the team in what might be described as a case of affirmative action, the addition of a male! It's quite a complex piece, but Legal Eagle's Academic theory and practice is worth a read. In comments, skepticlawyer herself demonstrates that all roads continue to lead to Rome. I really have learnt a lot from her comments.

Loosely, perhaps not so loosely, linked to this is my present train reading, Geoffrey Blainey's A very short history of the world. I am enjoying it and not just because Professor Blainey is a very good writer. He provides a context, a framework, that fits together bits of human history across the globe including Rome.

My knowledge of history has grown enormously since I started blogging. That's fun.

I blinked when I read Pleistocene Re-Wilding: Environmental Restoration or Ecological Heresy? However, in a way it captures something that has often concerned me about the modern environmental movement, the tendency to attempt to freeze at a point in time regardless of past or future.

Staying on the environment, I couldn't let the retirement of Australian Greens' leader Bob Brown pass without a comment. Bob was in my class at primary school. I wish he and his partner Paul a happy time together.

While I haven't met Paul beyond some email exchanges, I suspect that a fair bit of Bob's success and especially his stability has been due to Paul's willingness to play the supporting partner role. It's just so much easier to do things when you have a secure home base.

One of the reasons I got so angry at the the ABC's At Home with Julia was my distaste at the treatment of her partner. I suspect that Tim probably laughed, but I still reserve the right to be angry on his behalf!

I often rail at the way in which do-gooder Government policies have adverse effects. This story is a case in point - Art collector stopped from donating collection by Australian legislation.

I can't comment on the accuracy of the story because I haven't done the checking research. However, the point that our desire to protect the Aboriginal cultural heritage has actually damaged current Aboriginal artists does ring true. 

Oh dear, I had to laugh. In a comment on his own post, Parenting goes corporate, Nicholas Gruen wrote:

“We aim to be a world-class family leveraging our skills to the advantage of all.”

Do at least scan Nicholas' post. As a management consultant I used to peddle this stuff. I thought then, and indeed do now, that a focus on mission, vision and values was important. But then it all became just another example of what I have come to call mechanistic management, a substitute for real thought, a process that you had to go though.

As I have so often complained, the combination of photos with pastel colours does not a policy or business statement make.

I appear to be adopting my grumpy old man role. Time to finish, I think.  


Legal Eagle said...

Heh, nothing wrong with getting grumpy about management-speak. In fact, I think it's the sign of a sane and healthy person.

Evan said...

Have you read Ricardo Semler? In some classes he taught to management students he pointed out that if you removed identifying word about the industry all the vision statements look the same.

Evan said...

The academic valuing of reflection over practise (reflection on what exactly?) applies well beyond law I think.

Evan said...

The re-wilding stuff is really interesting for the differing perspecitves it opens up.

For me persons are, in some deep sense, their relationships. We aren't a separate something that 'has relationships'. These relationships are with our inanimate, animate and cultural worlds. (Yes, these are somewhat false distinctions too.)

I do think the precautionary principle is a good one (this kind of environmentalism is conservative) so would like to see re-wilding tried out at the small scale first. Bit projects can mean big mistakes.

Then I think we need a discussion about sustainability and other values - like beauty and rest.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, LE!

Evan, I haven't read Semler and actually had to look him up. He is dead right, of course.

I don't think that you can separate reflection and practice.The two have to go together. Reflection allows you to draw lessons from practice that then feeds back into practice.

I had the same reaction on re-wilding. I agree about relationships. I have a part written post here, but have held back because it may be too revealing in a personal sense. It focuses on territory, someone to love and something to look forward too as key building blocks.

Beauty and rest! There are posts in themselves.