The only way was up

Moscow Times is running a multi-part series. Putin’s Legacy. This is the opening text from their story on Putin’s management of the Russian economy:

These are extraordinary times. Less than 10 years ago, Russians were looking bleakly into the future, their savings wiped out and their confidence shattered in their country’s government and banking system.

Now, amid jittery global stock markets and a dramatic reversal in fortune for most of Wall Street’s powerhouses, the shoe is on the other foot. Russia’s economy is more insulated from the rout than most of its emerging-market rivals, and the country is molding a new role for itself.

Speaking at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin rammed the point home, noting that Russia would emerge as “an island of stability” amid the gathering storm.

Rout? Gathering storm?

Not to worry.

As they say, “Been down so long, looks like up to me.”

Great line!

True Fans or Long Tails

Sociologist Ruth Towse surveyed artists and found that on average creatives earned below poverty subsistence levels, but Kevin Kelly is suggesting there is a home for creatives in between poverty and stardom. [via Seth Godin, remarking that this is Kelly’s best piece evah]

Calming turbulence?

Science blog leaves the cushy comfort of theory vs. facts to visit plankton and discover a nugget of wisdom:

[I]f you’re ever feeling down, like life is just too much for you to handle, just remember the life of plankton. Realize that maybe the turbulence of life may be just the kind of environment that you want, even need.

Imagine dropping a single dinoflagellate into a glass of water, and then sticking a straw inside and blowing bubbles. That’s normal to them.

The oxide of greed

It’s a culture thing, based on the wonder of game theory. I think of money-grubbers not as up/down ranking, but a form of complex systems where congregations arrange themselves like biofilm near feed, lazy bunch of buggers too, in the main.

What was I thinkin’ a few years ago while trying to compare aspiration vs. guile?

Prime anthropological stuff:

“Social Imitation Theory”

“Mutual Contingency”

“Attribution Control Modeling”


“Exchange Theory”


The overt/covert power of “The Cue”.

Stimuli in finite nodes of decision trees…

Chains of expectations:

1) authenticity determined by context,
legitimacy determined by context,
validity determined by context.

2) the literal and the spatial,
left and right brain,
lists and algorithms,
forms and flows,
indexes and events.

Synchronized spectral stimuli:

a probabilistic logic
for the synthesis of reliable organisms
from unreliable components, (link)

the dismaying sprawl,
a pluralist locus of vigor and victory.

cybernaut, capitalist, christian and cowboy
along the way from plankton to pulsar.

Nobel Warming

I must say, pip pip, I’ve seen two distinct responses to recent news our earth might die before we do. One is nuts and the other worried. I cannot decide. Most annoying, others have. Not one of us expected our gas taint our air to kill us. Yet millions rise to cure us, change us, some to lure us to greener things, as if the earth ain’t darker dirt and char in dirt might fix it. What fools took us here? These same fools guide us. I’ve seen two distinct responses to recent news our earth might die before we do. One is nuts and the other worried. I cannot decide. Most annoying, neither have we.

All the world’s power from the Sahara

All the world's power from the Sahara, TREKUsing our best solar concentrators an area in the Sahara about 150 x 150 miles would provide all the electricity for the whole world.


All the electricity
for the whole world

“If you assume these 64,516 square kilometers (64 billion square meters) were to have an output of 100 watts per meter, at 7.0 hours per day at 100 watts-hours per hour per square meter, this array would throw off 45 billion kilowatt-hours per day, or 395 trillion kilowatt-hours per year.

“This imputes a constant 24-7 supply of 1,882 gigawatts, or 1.8 terawatts of electric power. The US draws about 450 gigawatts (or .45 terawatts) of electric power, or by these reckonings 24% of total global electrical output.”

Ecoworld imputes, “…sounds plausible.”

Evaluating ourselves while aging

sleeping differentlyWhen a toddler slips, life goes on as if nothing happened, and certainly the little one is not keeping track. When a child forgets their home phone number, a teenager where they left a new cellphone, or if a college student is sleepless about an upcoming exam, life goes on as if nothing happened.

Keeping track of ourselves is an adult activity that seems to become more important with age. And with age, we become more able to keep track too.

A study years ago noticed that the memory of a college student and an older adult were similar, but older people didn’t agree. It’s an old saw that memory fails, but it’s more likely, said this study of 1,000s, that older adults merely “notice” when they forget. After all, they’ve inhabited their body and brain for awhile and have become familiar with its errors and omissions.

A new study noticed that insomniacs and normal sleepers use similar criteria to discuss the quality of their sleep, but that insomniacs use extra criteria. Insomniacs evaluate their sleep under a more exacting lens where a longer list must be satisfied before they say they’ve enjoyed quality sleep [story].

Perhaps a poor sleep isn’t, or perhaps a poor sleep is generally normal.

It might be important to wonder if memory or sleep is failing or if we’re merely more adept at ‘noticing’ and more impatient with our performance.

It might be important to reflect on youth and remember how many times we fell on our butt or woke during the night. If we forget where we put our keys and say to ourselves it’s because we’re getting old, we might only be forgetting that we’ve lost our keys before.