‘Before you ask more questions, think about whether you really want to know the answers’ — Gene Wolfe




To create life is the prerogative of gods. Deep in the human psyche, whatever the rational pleadings of physics and chemistry, there exists a sense that biology is different, is more than just the sum of atoms moving about and reacting with one another, is somehow infused with a divine spark, a vital essence. It may come as a shock, then, that mere mortals have now made artificial life.


Synthetic biology: And man made life | The Economist

‘Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd’ — Voltaire


Why do gifted children struggle academically? Despite their high levels of curiosity and hunger for learning, many of these children lag when it comes to writing. “For these children, psychomotor development doesn’t develop at the same pace,” says co-researcher Cassandre Bélanger-Legault. “This is sometimes at the root of academic failure.”

Another reason is the lack of interest that gifted children have at school because the curriculum doesn’t meet their needs. The result is that they either become a disturbing force in the classroom or completely apathetic. “After years of a poorly adapted curriculum and of intellectual passivity, these children finish high school devoid of interest,” explains co-researcher Philippe Grenier-Vallée. “They struggle to organize their work and remain inattentive in the classroom.”

“The danger with boredom is that it can lead to dropping out, which in turn can lead to juvenile delinquency,” says co-researcher Marie-Ève Boucher. “Based on studies conducted mainly in the United States, 10 to 30 percent of intellectually precocious students have psychological and behavioral trouble. These are the result of trouble coping with their intellectual discrepancy.”

Many gifted children fail academically | UdeMNouvelles

‘The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible’ — Albert Einstein


The only people who know what business Wall Street is in are the traders. They know what business Wall Street is in better than everyone else. To traders, whether day traders or high frequency or somewhere in between, Wall Street has nothing to do with creating capital for businesses, its original goal. Wall Street is a platform. It’s a platform to be exploited by every technological and intellectual means possible.

The best analogy for traders? They are hackers. Just as hackers search for and exploit operating system and application shortcomings, traders do the same thing. A hacker wants to jump in front of your shopping cart and grab your credit card and then sell it. A high frequency trader wants to jump in front of your trade and then sell that stock to you. A hacker will tell you that they are serving a purpose by identifying the weak links in your system. A trader will tell you they deserve the pennies they are making on the trade because they provide liquidity to the market.

I recognize that one is illegal, the other is not. That isn’t the important issue.

The important issue is recognizing that Wall Street is no longer what it was designed to be. Wall Street was designed to be a market to which companies provide securities (stocks/bonds), from which they received capital that would help them start/grow/sell businesses. Investors made their money by recognizing value where others did not, or by simply committing to a company and growing with it as a shareholder, receiving dividends or appreciation in their holdings. What percentage of the market is driven by investors these days?

What Business is Wall Street In ? | blog maverick

‘There is no such thing as good hiring, only good firing’ — Chris Lyman


“The hiring process is not nearly as important as the firing process. By this I mean: your skill as a manager is not based on your ability to get good people into your group, but on getting bad people out. The sooner you cull weaker players, the sooner you can replace them with stronger players (for relatively the same salary) and improve the human composite of your firm”.

There is no such thing as good hiring, only good firing | Fonality

‘Enjoy what you can, endure what you must.’ — Goethe


There are a variety of ways that Legalism has fundamentally shaped Chinese society and politics. It is, I would contend, impossible to isolate the historical effects of Confucianism without reference to Legalism. And it could be the case the Legalism has actually had a greater impact and longer lasting presence in Chinese life (the authoritarianism of the CCP has certain resonances with the Legalist past, as Mao was willing to admit…) than Confucianism. Thus, it seems to me, that China is at least as much a “Legalist society” as it is a “Confucian society.”

But we don’t say that. Perhaps because we don’t want it to be true. Confucianism is nicer, more humane. It is a moral theory that strives toward a better world. And it is certainly an important part of Chinese tradition. But that does not change the fact that Legalism, too, has had a profound presence in Chinese history. It is largely responsible for the centralized, bureaucratic state, which plays such a central role in defining and reproducing Chinese society and culture over the centuries. And it lives on (unfortunately in my view) in the continuing experience of authoritarianism in Chinese politics. We might want to say, and believe, that China is a “Confucian society,” but I am afraid we must accept the dreary reality that China, too, is a “Legalist society.”

Why Don’t We Call China a “Legalist Society”? | The Useless Tree

‘The dominant danger remains hubris, the vice of closed-mindedness, of dismissing dissonant possibilities too quickly’ — Philip Tetlock





One day, high above Arizona , we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. ‘Ninety knots,’ ATC replied. A twin Bonanza soon made the same request. ‘One-twenty knots on the ground,’ was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio with a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was… ‘Dusty 52, we show you at 620 knots on the ground,’ ATC responded.


The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of Walter’s mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice, Walter startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, ‘Aspen 20, I show you at 1,982 knots on the ground.’


Flying the SR-1 Blackbird

‘A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.’ — Aldous Huxley


Captured: Guttenfelder’s iPhone Photos | Plog Photo Blog

‘Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.’ — Woody Allen


Regardless of your position on the over-hyped and under-estimated realm of cyber conflict, crime, and espionage, you probably have a few pet fallacies. I thought it might be fun, and possibly instructive, to start a conversation about them. Here are my top five. Feel free to add yours in the comments section.

My top 5 Cyber Fallaacies | IntelFusion

Image: Rasmus Mogensen

Can Steve Jobs Do It Again?



It is possible that the public will not fall on the iPad, as I did, like lions on an antelope. Perhaps they will find the apps and the iBooks too expensive. Maybe they will wait for more fully featured later models. But for me, my iPad is like a gun lobbyist’s rifle: the only way you will take it from me is to prise it from my cold, dead hands. One melancholy thought occurs as my fingers glide and flow over the surface of this astonishing object: Douglas Adams is not alive to see the closest thing to his Hitchhiker’s Guide that humankind has yet devised.

The iPad Launch | TIME

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary


When creating, or even looking at, a banknote design, one of the first things you realise is their inherent and very deliberate imperfections. There’ll be an apparent mis-registration of colour, a strangely ragged line, a discontinuity in a pattern or an odd serif or ligature on a piece of lettering, but it’s exactly how it was designed. Without it, it wouldn’t be right. The design of banknotes represent something I find gloriously poetic — imperfect perfection — if it was perfect by our usual standards, it would be imperfect. Wonderful.

One Hundred Dollars | The Ministry of Type