Jon Stewart joined an impassioned press conference on Thursday, calling out Republican Senators who are blocking passage of the PACT Act in the Senate. The bill will expand healthcare and benefits for the more than three million veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service. The Senate originally passed the legislation in June with extraordinary bipartisan support. The House passed it shortly thereafter, and it arrived back to the Senate on Wednesday for final passage. But a group of Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Pat Toomey, decided to block the measure for purely political reasons, costing sick veterans time they do not have.
[“This is an embarrassment – to the Senate, to the country, to the founders, and all that they profess to hold dear. If this is America first, then America is fucked.” It’s heartbreaking that politics and power has diverged so greatly from what it right.]
Be definitive, know what you’re getting yourself into, control scope by deciding yes or no. Maybe is a scope expander, a deadline wrecker, and an appeaser that ends up being a displeaser in the end.
[My wife and I use a binary system about all household spending (which for us is pretty broad category of purchases). We decided early on that only one no “wins”. The revisit period is indeterminate, but any agenda item can be brought up again if circumstances change. There are certain revisitation exceptions like fabric patterns. It’s easy to get talked into something, but you’re never really going to like it. It’s not as formal as it sounds and it works for us. YMMV]
So if you want to make a critique then do it explicitly and earnestly. Take a position of your own and defend it. It takes a lot more work but in exchange it holds the promise to create a great deal more value for society.
[I was going to make a sarcastic remark, but I thought the irony wouldn’t be clear. I agree with his point.]
Yesterday, John Voorhees wrote a nice article at MacStories about creating links to specific email messages. His system is in the form of a Shortcut, but the real work is done by an AppleScript. The AppleScript is an extension of one John Gruber wrote 15 years ago.
we’d have returned to the hotel for a long day’s lounging in and around the pool. We made up imaginary and ridiculous Disney movies, describing the trailers to each other. (In “The Dog Who Shit Nickels,” when the suburban neighbor, pointing to a pile of coins, complains to dog owner Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Look what your dog did on my lawn!”, Arnold says, “Keep ze change.”) We splashed, we swam, we paddled.
Finally, I try to learn from my students. Even a first-day woodworker can teach me something because they are coming at it with fresh eyes. Or without preconceived notions.
[Lots of truths in that list no matter what you are teaching. And while I know everyone categorizes certain types of knowledge I believe this applies to everything. You can always teach what you know, regardless of topic, but I do make one request. Only teach what you know by doing. If you can’t practice the thing you’re teaching (lots of topics leap to mind) then maybe it requires some level of certification. If you’re not a surgeon, maybe trying to teach surgery is a, er, um, less good idea.]
There’s a difference between the useless “be perfect” and the journey to always improve. Reaching for perfection contains greatness. Being perfect is, atmo, unobtanium. Clips from Michael Brauer, Grammy award winning mix engineer and Julian Lage, a brilliant guitar player. We start to discuss how change can be hard.
There are a lots of decision-making steps along the product-development path. Those of us in the software industry who were influenced by Kent Beck et al talk about “spiking.” It means trying to build just enough of something to expose the unknowns that we would have missed otherwise. It’s not unusual to spike two different approaches to the same problem to see the difference in their characteristics.
These examples only scratch the surface. The big idea is to think of prototyping not as a single costly effort to build and verify a single guess, but as a way to learn, to uncover what we don’t know — to find the best way forward for the unanswered question at hand.
[Public prototyping also takes place… like with Constraints and Creativity. I did some prototyping privately, but there’s so much more to learn about the choices that sometimes it makes sense to do them publicly.]
Quote Investigator: Theodore Parker was a Unitarian minister and prominent American Transcendentalist born in 1810 who called for the abolition of slavery. In 1853 a collection of “Ten Sermons of Religion” by Parker was published and the third sermon titled “Of Justice and the Conscience” included figurative language about the arc of the moral universe:
Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Jefferson trembled when he thought of slavery and remembered that God is just. Ere long all America will tremble.
The words of Parker’s sermon above foreshadowed the Civil War fought in the 1860s. The passage was reprinted in later collections of Parker’s works. A similar statement using the same metaphor was printed in a book called “Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” with a copyright date of 1871 and publication date of 1905. The author was not identified:
We cannot understand the moral Universe. The arc is a long one, and our eyes reach but a little way; we cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; but we can divine it by conscience, and we surely know that it bends toward justice. Justice will not fail, though wickedness appears strong, and has on its side the armies and thrones of power, the riches and the glory of the world, and though poor men crouch down in despair. Justice will not fail and perish out from the world of men, nor will what is really wrong and contrary to God’s real law of justice continually endure.
Just press and hold the buttons on both sides. Remember that. Try it now. Don’t just memorize it, internalize it, so that you’ll be able to do it without much thought while under duress, like if you’re confronted by a police officer. Remember to do this every time you’re separated from your phone, like when going through the magnetometer at any security checkpoint, especially airports. As soon as you see a metal detector ahead of you, you should think, “Hard-lock my iPhone”.
The second thing is to know your rights. Never ever hand your phone to a cop or anyone vaguely cop-like, like the rent-a-cops working for TSA. If they tell you that you must, refuse. They can and will lie to you about this. If you really need to hand it over, they’ll take it from you. And they won’t get anything from it, because you’ll have already hard-locked it, and you’ll know that you cannot be required to give them your passcode.
[Nothing to add. Well maybe… drill at dinner once a month until it has set in for the whole family? Just a thought. We did last night.]