The Sunday morning club is quickly becoming a comfortable habit. Unfortunately, it seems to be too short, like we never get a chance to really gel. Currently, Kevin has to bail at 9:30 to get to work at 10am. Maybe people would be up for meeting at 8am, or maybe meeting on Saturday morning?

In my readings around Philly yesterday, I came across the Constitution Center, and since I've not ever seriously read our Constitution, I sat down and read it.

They talk about our Constitution being a living document, changing as the people of the United States change. This is true, but it glosses over the fact that it logs our changes over time. So that we may sit back on a lazy Sunday morning and see the span of our concerns, our debates, our follies. To rewrite it from scratch would be such a tremendous loss.

But perhaps an inventorying of laws on the books and a proactive cleaning every 100 years or so would be good (does Massachussetts need a law allowing me to shoot someone for pilfering my lobster pots?) Currently, US law has false laziness, dealing only with issues as they arise. We should be dealing with issues before they arise, constantly evaluating our legal codebase, looking for improvements.

After reading our Constitution, it's funny to see that there seems to be an inverse relationship between cultural importance and the length of an entry. Civil rights for slaves, women, income taxation, prohibition, and un-prohibition were all one or two liners. But Presidential succession and the electoral voting process (both not inconsequential, cf. Roman Empire ;) have much less social weight, but constitute a considerable bulk of our Constitution.

It's interesting to see income tax rates change over time since their inception. Back in 1913, if you made less than $20,000 (app. $600,000 nowadays) you paid 1%. Since our budget is online, we can figure out where all our money is actually going (well, if the site wasn't being slashdotted).

And in other news, I was washing up this morning when I realized that my skin cleanser, Cetaphil, can be construed as anglicized Greek for whale-lover. Their site makes no mention of this, so I'm wondering if someone (maybe in marketing) is having a good laugh.

Yesterday on NPR, they were talking about the loss of the Columbia, and they mentioned fault tree analysis as a method of determining what exactly happened. Basically, you brain-storm all the faults that can happen to a system (you probably won't get them all), and for each fault you enumerate the conditions that can cause them, as in this chart.

Book club is tonight, and we're discussing Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. I've been slacking, I didn't even take notes when reading this book. Time to rehash the book in my mind.

  1. Souls - Everyone has a soul, even white people.
  2. Bears - Their souls are their armor. Sounds like modern man?
    Or maybe just a facet of man, given the "If I am afraid, I will master my fear." and high honor, sounds like the mythic warrior leader. Just another brick in the modern wall.
  3. Daemons - I'd think that people would be much more sane in that world as they always have their daemons to worry about, you'd think they'd have larger larger superegos on average, relative to us humans in this world.
  4. Evil - Ambition seems to be the oerwhelming cause of it in their world. This jives with me intuitively. They care about their daemons, they want the best for them, so they push themselves too hard. Sounds like another scathing indictment of modern-life.
  5. Nature not Nurture - Harry Harlow would prolly say that her daemon provided contact that she lacked from her parents. That plus her nature got her by. Given the listless Ratter-less child which looks a lot like the contact-deprived behavior of rhesus monkeys, if Pullman says 'daemon' and means 'soul', then it would seem that humans in this world only get our souls if we are not contact deprived as children. Pity the soul-less children.
  6. I don't like the child that survives their parents' separation unscathed. I'm far too jealous.
  7. Science, Religion and (not versus) (Why am I writing in RPN?)
    Fate is a consequence of interwoven Science and Religion. Religion makes the uncertain future tolerable, Science wants to know why it'll be tolerable, so it tries to peer into the future. Hence the notion of fate, and the hint of greater things to come in the whispered prophecies concerning our protagonista.

Peter Drucker's Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices is a suprisingly fun read for a management tome. Notes:

  1. Without a goal, the organization will live only for itself, and badly at that.
  2. Short term profits can be easily had by selling your long term capital (i.e. destroying your future). This applies not only to Enron, but also to the profligate youth (me).
  3. J.B. Say coined the term entrepreneur, but mostly we remember him for Say's Law "Supply creates its own demand.", which most economists today believe to be backwards (strike that, reverse it).
  4. Reflecting on past occurrences is good, as we can pick out gains to efficiency(doing things right), and gains to effectiveness(doing the right things).
  5. Structure follows strategy, without clear goals, you get the amoeba.
  6. What happened to Sears, Roebuck, and Company? Wal-Mart?