Talking with Arjun about psychology, we noted that people's interests are typically quite narrow. You might think, "Oh no, not me. ;)", but I'd challenge you to do the following:

  1. Write down all your friends with whom you have at least weekly contact.
  2. For each friend, write down their top two or three interests.
  3. Take the big list of main interests, and remove all reduplications.
  4. Look at this reduced list of main interests.
  5. Now contemplate the diversity on just our planet alone.
It makes sense that we'd specialize in our interests, as it's self-reinforcing; you talk to someone about something you're interested in, and you experience flow. You like flow, and so you search other people who are interested in your interests. We build social relationships based on knowledge with these new friends, and since we do social comparison, we work even harder to remain knowledgeable, which takes up even more of our time.

All of this just makes me want to broaden my circle of acquaintances.

SARS infection growth rate is looking amazingly good. It looks like it's levelling out and not going exponential, which means that we've contained it everywhere we're monitoring it. Now, we sit tight for 4 weeks (2 times incubation period) to see if it appears anywhere else.

Nukonomics. That's the best neologism I've heard in a long while. ;)

Apollo 13 is a good read, especially the last chapter, which details the multiple failures which caused the 2nd O2 tank to blow. The main impact of the book is derived from how NASA answered the question of how one sends 3 humans to the moon and back. That is, there are many permutations of events that end in a failed mission. NASA's goal is to minimize the number of these permutations and their associated occurence rates.

To do this, it appears that NASA does a lot of deconstruction and documentation. NASA views each possible chain of events, as a chain of states that the process of going to the moon and back can be in. Each state is deconstructed into its composite processes, and each of these processes depends on hardware, software, and humans. To achieve NASA's goal, NASA documents as many of these aggregated permutations of hardware, software, and human states as possible. This is a mind-bogglingly complex task.

The other item I found interesting was NASA's commitment to providing the outside world with an uncensored view of their organization, whether in crisis mode or not. This appears to be a very effective way to make sure the organization does operations as correctly as possible. Plus, the sharing of potentially damaging information builds credibility.