Category: Bits and pieces

Shipwrecked

Ed finally decides to take a vacation. He books himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeds to have the time of his life –until the boat sank. He found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies…nothing… only bananas and coconuts.

After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to him. In disbelief, he asks her, “Where did you come from? How did you get here?”

“I rowed from the other side of the island,” she says. “I landed here when my cruise ship sank.”

“Amazing,’ he says. “You were really lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you.”
“Oh, this?’ replies the woman. “I made the rowboat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches. And the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree.”

“But, but, that’s impossible,” stutters Ed. “You had no tools or hardware. How did you manage?”
“Oh, that was no problem,” replies the woman. “On the south side of the island, there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware.”

Ed is stunned. “Let’s row over to my place,” she says. After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As Ed looks onto shore, he nearly falls out of the boat. Before him is a
stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, he could only stare ahead, dumbstruck. As they walk into the house, she says casually, “It’s not much, but I call it home. Sit down please. Would you like to have a drink?”

“No, no, thank you.’ he says, still dazed. “Can’t take any more coconut juice.” “It’s not coconut juice,” the woman replies. “How about a Pina Colada?”

Trying to hide his continued amazement, he accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, “I’m going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom.”

No longer questioning anything, Ed goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, is a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism. “Wow! This woman is amazing!” he muses, “What next?”

When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines-strategically positioned-and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her. “Tell me,” she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, “We’ve been out here for a really long time. You’ve been lonely. There’s something I’m sure you really feel like doing right now, something you’ve been longing for all these months. You know…” She stares into his eyes.

He can’t believe what he’s hearing: “You mean—“, he swallows excitedly, “I can check my email?!”

A spell checker poem

Eye halve a spelling checker It came with my pea sea
It plainly marks four my revue Miss steaks eye kin knot sea

Eye strike a key and type a word And weight four it two say
Weather eye is wrong oar write It shows me strait a weigh

As soon as a mist ache is maid It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite Its rare lea ever wrong

Eye has run this poem threw it I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh My checker tolled me sew

An Owed To The Swell Checker

I have a spelling checker – It came with my PC
It plane lee marks four my revue Miss steaks aye can knot sea

Eye ran this poem threw it, Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it’s weigh – My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing. It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me awl stiles two reed, And aides me when aye rime.

To rite with care is quite a feet Of witch won should be proud.
And wee mussed dew the best wee can, Sew flaws are knot aloud.

And now bee cause my spelling Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite; Of non eye am a wear.

Each frays comes posed up on my screen Eye trussed to be a joule.
The checker poured over every word To sum spelling rule.

That’s why aye brake in two averse By righting wants too pleas.
Sow now ewe sea why aye dew prays Such soft wear for pea seas!

Lessons from a Starfish World

I found a very interesting document over at ChangeThis, Lessons from a Starfish World written by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom.

Summary:
Such seemingly dissimilar groups as the Apache Indians, music swapping programs, Wikipedia, Alcoholics Anonymous and Al Queda have one thing in common: they are all starfish. According to Brafman and Beckstrom, each of these resilient groups succeeds because they are absent any hierarchy (head) and conventional organizations (spiders) best watch their backs.

I like this phrase in their text: Size matters. There is power in being small.

Lesson to learn: small and agile organizations can beat the big guys.

Update May 1, 2007.
Jason Alba has posted Book Review: The Starfish and the Spider.

Update April 7, 2008.
I have written a book review at The Starfish and the Spider.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Turning the pages

Turning the Pages at the British Library is a fascinating service that lets you access some rare books in a new way.
Among the books you will find the Diamond Sutra, Jane Austen’s History of England, the Leonardo Notebook, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Mercator Atlas of Europe.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Rethinking Poverty

At TED talks is a very interesting speak by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund.

Jacqueline Novogratz persuasively argues for a new approach to foreign aid: “The question isn’t ‘how do we fix this?’ The question is ‘How can we help Africans to do this for themselves?’”

Watch more:
Jacqueline Novogratz: A third way to think about aid
Jacqueline Novogratz: Investing in Africa’s own solutions
Jacqueline Novogratz on an escape from poverty
Jacqueline Novogratz: Tackling poverty with “patient capita

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

Creativity and education

At TED talks is an interesting and entertaining speech by Sir Ken Robinson, author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, and a leading expert on innovation and human resources.

In this talk, he makes a case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

The Medici Effect

The Medici Effect is a book about creativity and innovation written by Frans Johansson. The name alludes to The Medici family that helped to spur the beginning of the Italian Renaissance.

The Medici Effect is about what happens at intersections, crossroads between different and often unrelated knowledge areas. Frans Johansson argues that innovations occur when people see beyond their expertise and approach situations actively, with an eye toward putting available materials together in new combinations. The book contains examples from different areas plus tips around how to achieve the intersectional effects.

Update on January 16, 2008.
Brian Clark at Copyblogger got inspired by this book and wrote The Content Crossroads: Supernatural Success at the Intersection of Ideas.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Dolphin Stress Test

READ THE FULL TEXT BEFORE LOOKING AT THE PICTURE!

The picture posted here has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress levels at Loma Linda Medical Center.

Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study of a group revealed that in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins. The number of differences observed matches closely to the amount of stress the observer is experiencing.

If you find more than one or two differences you may be experiencing stress. Look at the photograph.