Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Physicist, an Engineer, and an Economist walk into a power generating plant.....

Energy of course, cannot be created or destroyed. That much we know from basic physics.

So when we talk about generating electricity, we're really only talking about converting energy from something into electricity. That something can be almost anything: coal, wind, sun, oil, gas, the energy of flowing rivers, gravity, whatever.

It only needs a look at a fierce thunderstorm or a tsunami to see that there is no shortage of energy in the world. And physics tells us that all this energy can be converted to other, more usable forms. Even the conversion problem has been largely solved as Engineers have invented clever solutions to convert almost anything with energy into electricity.

Unfortunately, this is where physics and engineering stops and economics starts. Demand and supply comes into play, costs become a factor, artificial scarcities and monopolies rear their ugly heads, agency problems become apparent, asymmetrical information complicates things.

Physicists and Engineers did their job a long time ago. It's up to the Economists now.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Revolutions happen when no one is looking

Revolutions happen when a lot of people change their mind about something. For example while the internet was invented back in 1969, it wasn't classified as a revolution until a lot of people started using it in in the mid nineties.

But when Tim Berners Lee created the browser which finally brought the internet onto the mainstream, I don't think he woke up one day, and said to himself: I think I'm going to revolutionise the internet. Neither can I recall any mass protests or gathering exhorting people to take up the cause and adopt the one true way of the internet.

It all kind of just happened.

And that's how revolutions happen. They're not top-down with a small clique deciding it is time to do things in a certain way and then haranguing the populace to convert or else. They're more middle-out where a certain set of people adopt some ideas and the idea seeps out and reaches more people on its own merit. This is why a true revolution will always stick while a pseudo revolution will not. In a true revolution, people will genuinely be convinced of the usefulness or righteousness of something, and it will reach a critical mass which will then be a natural barrier against regression. A central figure trying to organise a revolution is generally a dead giveaway of a pseudo revolution. If it was truly a revolutionary idea, he wouldn't have to be trying so hard in the first place -the idea would spread regardless.

We see a lot of attempts at pseudo revolutions anyway. In the corporate space, these take the form of the jargon-de-jour which a few wise men in senior positions try to get everyone to agree to. But as said exercises prove over and over again, most such revolutions peter out as soon as the posters proclaiming them are taken down.

This is how evolution has always worked. Slowly. Creating changes in organisms as the environments demand, but taking its own sweet time to get there, letting the change seep thru civilizations rather then showing up on the doorstep one day with a circular that: henceforth humans will no longer live in the trees.

And so it goes. Gradually.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

classic snake version 2.7

My Mac game Classic Snake is now on version 2.7 !
Enjoy the new graphics and colorful backgrounds

  • 3 Speeds
  • 4 Boards
  • Many backgrounds & snake colors and graphics
  • Handy Pause
  • High Score
  • Just fun !! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rhythm & Momentum

Building momentum takes time and energy. Once you build it though, it carries you with much lower effort. 

There are elements of momentum which are exciting and truly useful. The excitement comes from the constantly increasing pace - something new every day - faster, better, higher, stronger. The efficiency comes from the inverse relationship with effort. Hard to build up, once built it is much easier to sustain. And so as you progress you get into the sweet zone where effort decreases and reward increases.

Rhythm is something else again. At it's core it is about repetition which sounds monotonous - but it's really about getting into a groove where things fall into a natural cycle, where highs and low even out, where night follows day, follows night, follows day with a natural inevitable, satisfying constancy.

Both are interesting. On balance though, I'd take rhythm over momentum.

I think the natural world is more about rhythm than momentum. From phases of the moon, to cycles of weather, most natural phenomena come and go in a pattern. What goes up, inevitably comes down.  So while bursts of momentum are useful and exciting - in the end we will always need to find a sustainable rhythm.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Busy bees

Busy, busy, busy.

Drive. Shop. Drop him. Pick her. Get this. Buy that. Do this. Go there. Work. Office. Home. Career. Kids. Parents.

Oh how we love to pretend we're holding up the world.

Newsflash : We aren't. We're doing it all for ourselves.

The world would carry on just fine without us. But without the illusion of importance and urgency, we'll fall apart.

One day I'll have nothing left to do. And I know I'll hate it.