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food-for-thoughtThe Case for Working with Your Hands

NyTimes piece by Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soul Craft. Like in his book, the essay deals with how modern America has devalued the manual trades like plumbing, carpentry, and mechanics. He argues that since the switch to “knowledge work”, there’s a mistaken assumption that working with things and working with your hands is for “stupid” people, but it’s far more satisfying intellectually than people are aware of.

The trades suffer from low prestige, and I believe this is based on a simple mistake. Because the work is dirty, many people assume it is also stupid. This is not my experience. I have a small business as a motorcycle mechanic in Richmond, Va., which I started in 2002. I work on Japanese and European motorcycles, mostly older bikes with some “vintage” cachet that makes people willing to spend money on them. I have found the satisfactions of the work to be very much bound up with the intellectual challenges it presents. And yet my decision to go into this line of work is a choice that seems to perplex many people.

Be sure to also check out the excellent book review

Sometimes, The Better You Program, The Worse You Communicate

Really funny and interesting article about how the minds of programmers work. The more clear and rational you are the better you can communicate. That’s true, up to a point. Some programmers take this to heart. To do their work effectively they have to communicate clearly, sequentially, and logical. But with humans you have to do the complete opposite.

The golden rule of programming is D.R.Y. — don’t repeat yourself. This is the heart of effective programming. But this is the opposite of effective communication.

Let me say that again:

The golden rule of programming, DRY, is the opposite of effective communication. 

Say everything once and only once — go ahead — then be amazed as everyone misses your point!

Humans are not machines. Memories made of this gooey, spongy stuff called a brain are nothing like memories made of silicon.

With Humans, nothing sinks in the first time. And furthermore, you may be surprised to hear that NOTHING sinks in the first time.

The Capitalist Manifesto: Greed is Good

Newsweek’s International chief editor Fareed Zakaria on the Recession. His take?:

The global financial system has been crashing more frequently over the past 30 years than in any comparable period in history. On the face of it, this suggests that we’re screwing up, when in fact what is happening is more complex. The problems that have developed over the past decades are not simply the products of failures. They could as easily be described as the products of success.