I'm decompressing from interviews this afternoon. (Phone marathon went well. I am tired. I will try to do some work tonight; I don't think I can function that much right now, my concentration reservoirs are completely shot.) What happens when I decompress? I write a lot! Hurrah! And I read. So here is writing about reading.

One thing I mentioned to people this afternoon was MetaOlin, the first student-run course at Olin and a mind-blowing experience for me and the other 5 students involved. Thankfully, we blogged! Some of my favorite bits from that right now:

Letting things rest unquestioned has never been a talent of mine. I have to consciously put things down, step back, and say "I'm going to be okay not understanding evvvvvvvvvverything about this right now." Otherwise I'd just keep following random intellectual threads and tangents, and I would be happy but not content because I wouldn't actually focus enough to get something concrete done. --March 2007

And then there's just this ridiculously EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING!!! post from communications engineering. And then dragons.

However, when you fall of the edges of your world, you usually fall into a new (and larger) one. Take that metaphor and spin it around into systems thinking today. Instead of here be dragons, we have the much subtler factors beyond our control or even unexplained side effects. Can't do anything about dragons; they're just there, and if something flies into their realm, best let it go. We've roamed outside the known boundaries of our field... The case study of the Hubble telescope, while impressive and clearly written, has one major flaw. It has no stories.

As Boris said, "I agree with everything [the Hubble case study] said, but it doesn't help me." It's like saying here be dragons, followed by instructions to be cautious around dragons and avoid getting your ship sunk by dragons. What we need are more specific stories: "...and there was the one time we found this beast of a dragon, purple wings and scaly tales, who flew in from the sky to attack our boat... except Jorge discovered they were vulnerable along the underside of their wings..." If a purple dragon is ramming at your ship, you want to know how people have gotten rid of them in the past, not that you "should avoid purple dragons." --February 2007

And then this - I now belive that learning how to learn is a very learnable mindset, and experience can help, if used as tools rather than ruts to get stuck in.

Question: Is the advantage in the new world system (whatever the heck that means) and the creation of new systems (products, etc.) skewed towards the young? Since young people tend to be much more used to "being bozos" on account of not knowing enough to be much of anything else, we're apt to adapt better to a world where everyone's thrown into bozo-hood, much like being blind during a nighttime power outage. I have a hard time believing this; experience and the wisdom of years is usually transferrable to different situations. --January 2007

Some old blog posts I've randomly reflected on lately: