“weeks where decades happen”

Every fortnight — and what a fortnight it has been! — I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

6 March — “You’re not going to see public health, let alone pandemic preparedness, at the top of the priority list for this White House.”The Long Now Foundation

7 March — “It’s interesting seeing all the universities that disparaged distance education as not proper suddenly being converted to the benefits of online education.”@mweller

9 March — “Shoutout to all the Zoom engineers keeping the servers up and running as usage skyrockets for personal and business communicationss — can’t imagine what would happen if they had an outage, let’s hope we never find out.”@CallMeVlad

10 March — Covid-19 has come to tell us that we are not the kings of the world

There is something bitterly apt in the fact that coronaviruses take their name from the Latin corona, a crown. Their form is that of the traditional human symbol of dominion and domination.

They come to tell us that they are as much kings of the world as we are. We are not enslaved to nature anymore – but we are not its masters either. We have made a world in which it is not God who punishes us for our misdeeds. We do that entirely for ourselves.

The price for our victory is that we have made an Earth that is subject, not just to our genius, but to our foolishness, our rapacity and our inability to imagine consequences until they are lapping at our doors.

It took us millenniums to acquire the pride of conquerors. We have only a few decades to learn the humility of survivors.

12 March — “Just got off the phone with a Choctaw pal. He told me that the government was blocking Europeans from coming to America to infect the people who lived here with awful diseases. “About 400 years too late for that shit,” he said.” —@CharlesCMann

13 March — “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” —Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, via @HeerJeet

14 March — “Einstein’s works revolved around three rules which apply to all science, problems, and times:
• Out of clutter, find simplicity;
• From discord make harmony; and
• In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Albert Einstein!”
@ProfFeynman

15 March — ‘“That’ll never happen here,” say politicians with deep understanding of math and epidemiology.’@DavidMaddocks0

16 March — “World War 3 is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” —Marshall McLuhan 1968, via @JohnRobb

17 March — “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” —George Bernard Shaw, via @GregPayneYAD

18 March — Is anyone deploying ‘Innovation and Learning’ people alongside COVID-19 Response Teams?

Ask someone what happened during a high intensity, rapidly moving situation from a month ago. I’d bet they will put together a ‘story’ that represents a logical, ordered sequence of events that match the actions and outcomes they think happened. I know I do. It’s called retrospective coherence.

The same thing happens in Post Incident Reviews. People recall the things that happened through the lens of retrospective coherence, to fit with what they thought actually happened and the organisation’s rules. The longer you leave it, the more likely you are to get a ‘blurred’ or biased version of events.

19 March — “The coronavirus teaches us a lot about the true nature of our economy. The most important lesson: for decades, we’ve fundamentally misunderstood how our economy works. Our Civic Economy drives our Market Economy. Not the other way around.”@edmorrison

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