understanding systems

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“We build our computer (systems) the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.” —Ellen Ullman, via @CodeWisdom

@Eric_Weiner: “All travel is time travel. We journey in order to transport ourselves to another era or, better yet, change the rhythm of our lives.”

Florence Nightingale Saved Far More People With Her Grasp Of Numbers Than Of Nursing, via @drng

“Imagine the situation Florence Nightingale confronted in the Crimea. Everyone knew that, in a war, soldiers get shot. Everyone knew that people who are shot tend to die. What they didn’t know was that the vast majority of deaths in the Crimean War weren’t caused by wounds at all — they were caused by diseases like cholera and typhus. Thus military leaders didn’t implement the basic sanitary precautions in field hospitals and military barracks that would save lives by stopping the spread of disease.

Florence Nightingale saw the problem, but she needed her own ammunition. So she counted the dead, collected the data, and displayed it in a polar area diagram.

It was a credible, clear and compelling display of the causes of death. And suddenly the problem was no longer too abstract to ignore. It was fixable.

That is how a woman — a nurse — took on the top brass of the British military and won.”

The Pain You Feel is Capitalism Dying, by @cognitivepolicy

“Reason 1: There Are No More Profits to Extract …
Reason 2: Damage Built Up in the Natural World …
The money system grows faster than the productive “real” economy — with the predictable outcome of market crashes, financial collapse, and structural adjustments (wealth extraction) when the mismatch grows too large. What we end up with is bloated debt too large for everyone to pay back. Combined with the end game of wealth hoarding mentioned above, this is a death knell for capitalism as we’ve known it in the last 100 years.”

A Field Guide to Jobs that Don’t Exist, by @doxtdatorb

“In other words, the problem is not that Capital lacks a say in education, but that corporations and the 0.1% are reaping all the rewards and need to explain why. Too often, this explanation comes in the form of the zombie idea of a ‘skills gap’, which persists though it keeps being debunked. What else are CEOs going to say – and the skills gap is almost always based on an opinion survey – when they are asked to explain stagnating wages?”

Image: epi.org

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