How I ended up in Hell

(This is a flash story – a story written in 15 minutes on a train to Wales)

Want to know how I ended up in Hell? It was Billy’s stag night and so far a total disaster. Because of Billy’s best friend Bobby, we were sitting at a raw food restaurant in London – a raw food restaurant that had run out of most vegetables. I had a plate of “spaghetti” in front of me. Spaghetti made from shaved zucchini. Cold spaghetti. Spaghetti covered in tomato sauce consisting entirely of squashed cold tomato. “Don’t worry” whispered Billy, somehow picking up on my abject misery. “Wait until the girls arrive”.

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Of Gaps and Grass-Eaters

Are the American people obsolete? Salon argues that because of globalisation and technology there is now a increased separation between capital and labour. The activities that generate wealth have both been outsourced to cheaper shores, and become more efficient because of technology. As a consequence the social contract in Western society between rich and poor – the rich provide the capital while the poor provide the labour – is breaking down. The rich still have capital, but they can now move the production of goods to the East, creating a shortage of jobs in the West.

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Grayclaves and Henry the Lion

I read two articles on a similar theme this morning. Firstly there was Scott Adams’ post Startup Country, about creating a small, elite, light-weight country inside another country and using it to bootstrap the economy of the larger country. Secondly I read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty, published by The Atlantic. This article actually talks about Paul Romer’s ideas on “Charter Cities” – a city governed by it’s own charter, rather than national laws. According to The Atlantic, this idea goes back to the 12th century with Heny the Lion and the idea of Imperial Free Cities.

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Procrastination Modeling

For the last few months I’ve been trying to come up with a model for procrastination. Specifically; for the various factors that cause me to delay carrying out a task. Over the weekend I was pondering what I would use the model for. If I came up with an equation which effectively represented the various parameters describing how much I would procrastinate over a given task, what use would it be?

Well, my thinking is that if I have an accurate model of what causes me to procrastinate over tasks, I can then start targeting the various factors. I can create strategies to reduce the impact of different factors, and hopefully improve my own effectiveness. It will also be interesting to see if – by the very act of studying my behaviour – I reduce the amount I procrastinate.

Emacs cmd-key on Mac

Emacs on my Macbook Pro uses the “alt” key (the one to the left of the “cmd” key) to be the Alt (meta) key when doing things like Alt-Backspace to delete backwards by word. This is quite annoying for me as I naturally try and use the command key for this. To fix this put the following in your .emacs file.

(setq mac-command-modifier 'meta)

The Death of Blogging

The Economist recently had an article on social media’s impact on blogs, especially how sites like Facebook have meant the death of a large number of blogs. I have been thinking recently about this myself. I haven’t posted on my own blog for over 6 months, partly because Facebook’s status updates has fulfilled part of my communication needs. Partly because I’ve been going through a phase of focusing on work and reading, and haven’t been interacting much with my social network.

I do think that blogs have a part in our future – I just think that the people who used blogs as a telephone will move to Facebook, those that used blogs as a form of SMS will move to Twitter, and those that feel the need to expound on a particular topic, and want their missives to have a greater scope and longevity will continue to use blogs.