Scalability and Efficiency by… De-Centralisation

A somewhat contraversial thought in recent times, but one that I think has merit and perhaps will see a resurgence as much human brain power is expended trying to understand the recent Brexit vote in the UK. People are beginning to understand that massive scale completely centralised systems actually don’t work – primarily, it seems, because they reach a scale where nobody actually cares about them! Now IMHO a centralised system can work, if it is sufficiently introspective – taking time to celebrate its efficiencies and understand and work on its failures, but the notion of centralisation does tend to work in the opposite direction.

Economy-of-Scale vs Economy-of-Flow

EU, Russia and Chatham House

Through a paracetamol addled haze, I am watching Sir Andrew Wood (of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House) giving evidence to the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee regarding the EU and Russia.

On homogenisation of the force of application of EU law:

If you start to play by local rules, you will find out just how many local rules there are.

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The Day The Universe Changed

A quiet night in watching Brian Cox : Space, Time and Videotape on BBC Four – an evening of Science and Science Fiction programmes on Beeb Four, interspersed with short discussions between Brian Cox, Dr. Alice Roberts and Brian Blessed.

Having invested half an hour in The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity (1975), I’m halfway towards understanding what Colin was telling the BCS back in April about the influence of science fiction on the modern technologist.. There could also be some overlap towards the emerging discipline of user experience engineering (UX) there – the extra dimensional spaceship as an allegory of a desired user experience , simple, uncluttered, data minimalism, informationally rich…

The Day the Universe Changed – incredible! A massive range of topics, from the nature of belief, to the concept of reality, one’s ability to change it, the suggestion of a view of the internet enabled future as a kind of balanced anarchy.

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José Mujica on the Concept of Freedom

An interview with the President of Uruaguay who has legalised (via a strictly regulated system) use, limited possession and production of marijuana. Ignoring the underlying topic, there is much potential for discussion around the concept of freedom, the implementation of public policy (‘walk slowly’) and an example of a method of regulating a pre-existing (albeit underground / previously illegal) industry.

What is your conception of freedom?

If i have to take a drug in order to be free, I’m screwed. Freedom is here [taps his head]. Otherwise it doesn’t exist. You can’t buy freedom in little jars. That’s a brutal dependency. Then again I’m old… maybe my outlook on life is old fashioned.

José Mujica, President of Uruaguay, 2014

Rebel Architecture on Aljazeera

Watching ‘Rebel Architecture’ on Aljazeera… The role of architectural design in a range of situations, for sustainability, on water, at scale and potentially as a weapon.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/rebelarchitecture/

Some cross-cutting disciplines are highlighted, such as Forensic Architecture (which TBH I had never thought about), and some have parallels with the computing industry, i.e. User Experience Design, Security.

‘A Traditional Future’ followed a team of University students designing the smallest unit of earthquake-resistant family housing and implementing a project to educate the populace to build these structures. Sustainability was not only found through materials, but also through the self-reinforcing educational process, hands-on practice and community spirit. The students themselves could not assist with the builds due to security constraints, so used a remote ‘Train the Trainer’ type process to disseminate the knowledge through local ‘Artisans’.