The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth – primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components – is an increasingly pressing problem for spacecraft, and it can generate huge costs.
To combat this scourge, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL aims to launch CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first instalment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris.
I’m intrigued by this idea of complexity being something adversarial, that sneaks into your life, like a cockroach, and you have to fight to eradicate.
There’s a pernicious idea that comes out of startup culture called “fail fast”. I’ve always been a big believer in failing slowly. When you’re not in for the money, success doesn’t come to you pre-labeled. It can look just like failure. Chasing money makes it easier, because then you can quantify success unambiguously. Otherwise, you may have a hard time telling the two apart.
Writing a work diary is the only honest record of what you’re thinking at the time. Your memory will lie to you, almost immediately, about what you thought was going to happen on any given day. The only way you can trust it is to write down your state of mind – what you’re worried about, what you expect will happen. And then over time you can go back and look for patterns of thought that you might want to fix. Maybe you’re always too optimistic, or maybe you choose to work with toxic people, or chronically underestimate what things will cost. Writing it down will help you understand your mental habits, and correct for them.
It’s not our job, Thoreau argues, to fix the world. We may not have the time for that. But we can’t cooperate with injustice. If the law compels us to do something wrong, we have to break that law.
The reason I think it’s vital we act now is that this state of affairs is still shocking, still disturbing. Let it persist and it will become the new normal (in other words, the “old shitty”) and anyone trying to fight it is going to be branded a Utopian or hopelessly naive, unable to come to terms with modernity. We should commit to giving legal, financial and moral support to anyone who refuses to obey gag order, or publishes a National Security Letter. The secrecy exists because the programs it cloaks can’t withstand the light of day. One good, timely push will break them.
From the Comparative Constitutions Project comes constituteproject.org, a website for searching and saving the constitutions of various countries.
Constitute allows you to interact with the world’s constitutions in a few different ways.
Quickly find relevant passages. The Comparative Constitutions Project has tagged passages of each constitution with a topic — e.g., “right to privacy” or “equality regardless of gender” — so you can quickly find relevant excerpts on a particular subject, no matter how they are worded. You can browse the 300+ topics in the expandable drawer on the left of the page, or see suggested topics while typing in the search bar (which also lets you perform free-text queries).
Filter searches. Want to view results for a specific region or time period? You can limit your search by country or by date using the buttons under the search bar.
Save for further analysis. To download or print excerpts from multiple constitutions, click the “pin” button next to each expanded passage you want to save. You can then view and download your pinned excerpts in the drawer on the right.
Busy people all make the same mistake: they assume they are short on time, which of course they are. But time is not their only scarce resource. They are also short on bandwidth. By bandwidth I mean basic cognitive resources — psychologists call them working memory and executive control — that we use in nearly every activity. Bandwidth is what allows us to reason, to focus, to learn new ideas, to make creative leaps and to resist our immediate impulses. We use bandwidth to be a good participant at an important meeting, to be a good boss to an employee who frustrates us and to be attentive parent or spouse.
When we schedule things, we don’t want to just show up, we want to be effective when we get there. This means we need to manage bandwidth and not just manage time… Picture yourself at dinner with a friend whose marriage is on the rocks and wants some advice. Now imagine her request comes at a time when you have a big-project deadline looming. You value her friendship so you make time for dinner, but once you’re there, you find your mind wandering back to that project… while you’ve made time for her, you didn’t make bandwidth for her.
1. Publish under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International copyright licence (so we are free to use and share content as long as we say where it came from). This is great: a publicly funded organisation which collects information about New Zealanders is sharing that information freely with New Zealanders.
2. Offer emails that let you know when statistics are going to be released and the key points of each release when it happens. Sign up for these here.
5. Do some nice infographics. An early one celebrated 120 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand (September 19, 2013) and was created in partnership with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. It points out, among other things, that the average number of children a woman had in 1893 was 5, in 1953 it was 4, and in 2013 it’s 2.
The graphic also lists notable firsts for women holding Government positions. Among them now is Liz MacPherson, who in 2013 become New Zealand’s first woman Government Statistician.
Over a third of Kiwis could own a tablet this year: Ericsson | StopPress The [research] panel’s top uses for tablets were internet browsing at 66 percent, emailing at 58 percent and games at 53 percent. For smartphones, they were voice and SMS, internet browsing, using mobile apps, instant messaging and watching videos. “When asked about time of tablet use, most New Zealanders use their tablet at home in the evening, followed by while watching TV and in bed before sleeping,” says Chiastien. “Holiday usage is next on the list. Tablets are also commonly used as a time-killer as more than 36 percent use their tablets while waiting for something.”
Privacy Scandal: NSA Can Spy on Smart Phone Data | Spiegel SPIEGEL has learned from internal NSA documents that the US intelligence agency has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure.
Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s | NY Times For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.
In case you missed it, The Economist explained recently why it doesn’t use author bylines on stories. One reason is that stories are often written co-operatively and edited heavily, “the work ofThe Economist‘s hive mind, rather than of a single author”.
The main reason for anonymity, however, is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it. In the words of Geoffrey Crowther, our editor from 1938 to 1956, anonymity keeps the editor “not the master but the servant of something far greater than himself…it gives to the paper an astonishing momentum of thought and principle.”
Interesting idea in David Berkus’s HBR piece on innovation. He writes that companies often think that to be innovative means they need more ideas, but really they need to be better at recognising ideas that are already there. He mentions an idea market:
Rite-Solutions has set up an “idea market” on their internal website where anyone can post an idea and list it as a “stock” on the market, called “Mutual Fun.” Every employee is also given $10,000 in virtual currency to “invest” in ideas. In addition to the investment, employees also volunteer to work on project ideas they support.
If an idea gathers enough support, the project is approved and everyone who supported it is given a share of the profits from the project.
In just a few years, the program has already produced huge gains for the company, from small incremental changes to products in whole new industries. In its first year alone, the Mutual Fun accounted for 50 percent of the company’s new business growth.