Monthly Archives: March 2008

Chuck Norris and Google

hat tip to orgtheory

1. Go to Google.

2. Type “find chuck norris” into the search box.

3. Hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button.

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Filed under humor

The Information Society and Terrorism

I am deep into editing a paper about looking at terrorism from the perspective of OT and organizational studies.  Its been fun and allowed me to go back to the more recently resurgent grand theorizing of the likes of Manuel Castells, Charles Tilly, Ulrich Beck, and Anthony Giddens.

My initial reaction is that many of the themes of the grand social theory have been discussed and applied to terrorism. These include the idea that Islamic terrorism is very much a globalization phenomenon; the leaderless, self-organizing organizational structure of terrorism;  the shifting nature of identity in the information era.  There are more for sure.

I am not sure anyone has connected all the dots between the big picture of the theory of the network society and the multi-dimensional reality of Islamic terrorism (especially Al Qaeda).    One research task, it seems to me, to confirm that Al Qaeda is not so unique is to look at how “old line” terrorist groups are adapting (or not) to the contours of th enetwork society.   It may be that this ork has already been done and i just haven’t found it yet.  Suggestions are welcome, of course.  :<)

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Filed under Network Society, organization studies, Research, Social Networks, social theory, Terrorism

Philoctetes A research Center on Creativity

My friend John Hunter, who is a crazy Comaprative Huamnities schoalr who is trying to bridge neurscience and humanities, put me onto this NY outift.

Philoctetes – Home

Their purpose is to… well, I’ll let them say:

The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination was established to promote an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of creativity and the imaginative process.
The Center creates and supports projects, public forums, research and information gathering which foster cooperation and dialogue among diverse disciplines, while seeking to create public awareness of these efforts.

They had a program about education in SecondLife, a topic of absolutely explosive interest from where I stand.

The center looks interesting with a ranged of MDs and PhDs and a definite NYC cosmopolitan vibe. How do they fund such a thing, I wonder.

Given its relative accessibility (3 hours from here), looks like something I will have to explore further.

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Filed under Creativity, higher education, liberal arts, Research, Scholars, Uncategorized

ikea as a malevolent force for Scandinavian hate-mongering?

The good folks at orgtheory.net cite some research showing that Ikea’s naming of products is not as random as meets the eye of the non-Scandinavian.

nonrandomness that i can’t explain « orgtheory.net

I swore off Ikea after we reached a certain income threshold.  I’d been burned by too many of those lock down bolts-on-the-end-of-screws.

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Filed under Business, humor

These jokers run the world?

I found this article under the NYT’s most emailed (or blogged) articles.  I don’t follow the twists and turns of the software business very carefully, and it is easy to beat up on Microsoft.  like shooting a barnside.

The basics seems to be that Microsoft tried to weasel around the hardware/software incompatibility of its new Vista OS by labeling machines Vista capable instead of VIsta ready.  The capable label was supposed to mean Vista might work.  Sort of.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Caveat emptor and all.

A class action suit in Seattle is proceeding.

95% of my students,  faced with a product that does not work as advertised, would now that a world of headache is coming down  the pike.  But, the sagacity of the young is transmogrified into the idiocy of the powerful by money and organizational culture.

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know. – New York Times
In February 2006, after Microsoft abandoned its plan to reserve the Vista Capable label for only the more powerful PCs, its own staff tried to avert the coming deluge of customer complaints about underpowered machines. “It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.”

Exactly.  Big DUH.

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Filed under Business, organization studies, technology

Osama Bin Laden is a Great Manager

I can’t take credit for first publishing this, but you’ll have to take my word that I came to a similar conclusion as this fellow on my own.

He said it very nicely though.

An organization that maximizes return on investment, builds up the world’s most
recognizable brand name overnight, creates synergy between PR message and HR
recruiting, attracts motivated loyal employees who make the ultimate sacrifice to extend
the mission into new markets and keeps expanding despite the world’s most hostile
environment is every manager’s dream. One manager turned this dream into a reality:
Osama bin Laden.
– Hans van der Weijden

From:  1 Hans Van Der Weijden, “Al-Qaida, The Business Model.” Interface, February 2005, p. 14, 15.
<http://www.sviib.nl/interface/magazine/pdf/21_3_alquada.pdf&gt;.

The same policy paper I found this made reference to the fct that when many terrorists are in custody and asked if tehy belong to Al_Qaeda, they are not sure (!).  This seems like a good data point for how it is much more of a social movement or even Caastellsian network organization as opposed to a normal, bounded organization than common perception would suggest.

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Filed under organization studies, Terrorism

Designer fakes ‘are funding Al-Qaeda’- evidence of network organizing

One of the hallmarks of a network organziation is its flexibility and hence ability to reconfigure its operations, deftly linking up various partners in ever-changing networks of production and exchange.

Castells and others have remarked how there are structural inducements for terrorist and organized crime to reinsert themselves into the global economy.  Or maybe its about taking advantage of the space of flows themselves.   Seems like a good thread to weave into terrorism paper.

Designer fakes ‘are funding Al-Qaeda’ – Times Online
The designers are urging customers to think about who profits from the sale of fake goods. Intelligence experts believe that terrorists and organised crime syndicates are increasingly using counterfeit goods to raise money.

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Filed under Terrorism

A gadget I need? (or, simply one more distraction)

Given how much I like to take fragments of text and use them as the basis of notes and then put them into things I write, I have been eying these scanner pens for awhile wondering if they would make life easier for me.

I initially saw them in an airline Skymall cataloge. That stuff always seems cheesey and yet is utterly compelling eye candy when I travel.

here is one review.

Cnet review.

Update:

No one loves these devices.  And since the flatness of the documents seems critical for OCR, I wonder if any version is worthwhile for me now.  The Planon DCR scans a whole page and seems a superior design than the highlighter types.  Maybe a flatbed scanner would be better.  I could just scan pages I need.  Does scanner software easily convert to text (as opposed to images)?

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Filed under Research

One more social theorist to check out

Reading a book about Castells, (by Fleix Stalder), I uncoverd this nugget by Scott Lash (whose name I have beeb seeing referenced for years).

“what is characteristic about the second modernity is the emergent demise of the distinction between structure and agency altogether” (Stalder 184).

Given the tag line of this blog, seems like I gotta check this out.  Who is Scott Lash?

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Filed under social theory

Toys of the Super Rich: Macbook Air Bling With Gold And Swarovski Crystal

I guess the super rich need something to do with their piles of money.

Macbook Air Bling With Gold And Swarovski Crystal – Born Rich
Macbook Air Bling With Gold And Swarovski Crystal

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Filed under humor, life