Monday, January 30, 2012

Time and the Sublime

By coincidence, I got a copy of The Guardian on Sunday and a small booklet titled "Time" fell out of it. It was a complimentary copy of a guidebook bringing to the forefront the question of why we race through time in our physical world.

The timing of this coincidence could not have been any better (no pun intended).

An extract of one of my favorite articles within this guidebook:

"What is striking about this arrangement is how much it differs from the vision of time put forward by all the major religions. They have always pictured free time differently. For them, there is nothing inherently wrong with having an appointment. It does not, by itself, spoil time. The key detail is that we should have an appointment with something important – which for them means something related to the needs of our souls. Here, in particular, religons differ from the secular world. Most people today picture an appointment as something they might have in an office with a few people around a table talking about a spreadsheet. It is working life, and the capitalist version of it, that dominates this thinking about appointments. For religious people, however, appointments are occasions when they can reconnect with the divine; something they feel the need to do about as often as others think of watching the news."

Read the rest of Alain de Botton's article Scheduling in the Sublime here. The entire guide was put together by The School of Life.

Whose time matters most? If not now, when? If not us, who?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Economic complexity

Via CNN (19 Jan 2012), by Dayo Olopade:

What is economic complexity? The authors explain that "society functions because its members form webs that allow them to specialize and share their knowledge with others." The Atlas focuses on exported goods (not services), tracking how easy it is for an economy to leap from the simple (growing cotton, or making steel) to the complex (manufacturing garments, or building cars). The easier it is for a nation to diversify exports and, in turn, produce skilled workers and pricy exports, the more complex it is. Thus economic complexity, per Hausmann and Hidalgo, "reflects the structures that emerge to hold and combine knowledge." Notably, this includes demographic trends and social networks -- the webs and serendipities often lost in pure GDP analysis.

One question this article made me think about is the following: Is it perfect information which is one aspect of Economics, or is Economics itself evolving based on how much information people have access to today?

Thanks, Taha!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Here is to peace, prosperity and happiness in the world. Photo taken shortly after midnight at one section of the River Thames in London, January 1 2012.