Political Mind Control

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I started listening to Andrea Seabrook’s Decode DC podcast. Episode 2 is a real scorcher! Listen the neuroscience behind the language used in Washington to try to get you to think certain ways on issues.

Our economic choices

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It’s easy to see the economic problems of another country: Greece, Italy. You can look at the economic trends and see what is going to make things worse. However, it is a lot harder to even spot the mistakes in your own fishbowl.

This Planet Money episode on “We’re Headed For A Fiscal Cliff. Should We Jump?” has stuck with me for laying out in stark terms the hard choices we have to make. Give it a listen.

photo by: squacco

Cold Heartless Evil

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What makes us do bad things? More importantly, what people do the worst things imaginable. Radiolab covers the subject of evil this week in “The Bad Show.”

  • A fresh interpretation of Stanley Milgrim’s electroshock experiment. It’s not just people’s willingness to follow instructions from a person in a position in authority that allows them to intentionally inflict harm on others. Individuals will act, and continue to act, contrary to their own beliefs, and in a way that is abhorrent even to themselves, because of an intellectual buy-in to the greater good.
  • Saint or sinner: Fritz Haber, the man who saved the world from starvation also developed and personally implemented (on the front lines) one of the most terrible weapons in history.
  • And last, interview with a killer.

Give it a listen:

Creative Commons License photo credit: Greencolander

Cute Cats and The Arab Spring

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I saw this mentioned on BoingBoing last week: it is a discussion from the 2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture series discussion the importance of mainstream internet venues in democratic movements: unlike small networks (whose shutdown may be invisible to the mainstream), use of popular networks like Flickr, Facebook and Youtube means that heavy-handed shut-downs will likely make more people aware that something is going on. A very Freakonomics bit of analysis!

CBC.ca | Cute Cats and The Arab Spring. Via BoingBoing

Creative Commons License photo credit: Dr. Hemmert

Inside Foxconn

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Apple infinite Loop

This week’s This American Life showcases Mike Daisey’s amazing journey into the heart of Apple’s (and many other’s) manufacturing at Foxconn. Daisey’s plan started simply enough: going up to the gates of Foxconn and seeing if any workers want to talk. Other journalists with whom Daisey shared his plan with, thought this would be … a very bad idea. Undeterred, Daisey went ahead. Then he saw the armed guards.

Surviving that first encounter, Daisey decided to get bold.

Check out Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory | This American Life.

UPDATE 03/16/12: This American Life has retracted (pdf link) the episode for “numerous fabrications.” Now, of course, any company that installs anti-suicide nets on roofs and whose workers have died after 60 hour shifts, probably has some issues. This American Life is to air a special episode concerning the retraction and corrections tonight at 8pm. Via GawkerBusinessInsiderThis American Life.

UPDATE 03/18/12: The retraction episode of This American Life if available here. Or, listen to it below:

Creative Commons License photo credit: Codexian

The Lean Startup

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Just as in my firm, many solo and small firm attorneys are blazing their own path; trying to find their way to building a profitable business. However, most of us, never went to business school. So, we are just finding our way in the dark.

We have a lot of advantages: we are small, lean, and can turn on a dime. This gives us agility.

  • We can drop things that are not working.
  • We can quickly respond to changes.
  • We to make continuous improvements without the approval of a board of directors.

However, it still helps to have a model in place. Personally, I think a great place to look is tech industry startups. They are also not shackled with low barriers to entry and low costs. I also think their notions of rapid iterations apply in a law firm setting.

Here is a great discussion on the TWiT network with Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup, discussing what works for startups. Give it a watch.


You can also download a podcast version here.

What do you think? What’s the best startup advice you have to lawyers going out on their own?


Andrew Solomon: A Time of Hope

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This is a fabulous story from Andrew Solomon about his trip to find musicians in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. I haven’t heard anything this beautiful in quite a long time. It’s like a real life “Yellow Submarine.”

Give it a listen (mp3 link).

Note: I’m having trouble with the link, and The Moth page doesn’t show this podcast at all (!) as of this writing. Here is a link to the feeds where the podcast shows up. Look for “Andrew Solomon A Time of Hope.”

UPDATE 01/25/12: The MP3 link above seems to be working. However, it’s been pointed out to me that after a while, older episodes of The Moth podcast drop off the feed. Here are some other sources for this episode:

Read the rest of this entry »

Transitioning to cradle-to-cradle

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Fascinating presentations at the RSA about the bubble we all live in and the unsustainability of simply throwing away garbage. This was the first I have heard about designing manufacturing not only to recycled but to be built to a continual cradle to cradle system.

Pie in the sky?

Listen to Stef Kranendijk discuss how his carpeting company is currently doing this.

Creative Commons License photo credit:UrbanWoodswalker

Inside Washington’s Money Machine

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Sure, we all know that members of Congress need to raise between $5,000 and $14,000 each and every week for their reelection bid.

The Planet Money podcast has an interesting episode on how this fundraising gets done and the impact on who gets heard.

…we talk to Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist now working on campaign finance reform. He describes what it’s like to meet with a Congressman when you’re a lobbyist and your PAC hasn’t been donating to the Congressman.

Money, access, and secrecy. Check it out at “Inside Washington’s Money Machine.”

Theft, Graft, and Hit Albums

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Two great episodes from NPR’s Planet Money podcast take a behind the scenes look at how two industries work:

First up:  Inside the Mind of Master Criminal how popular electronics store Crazy Eddie skimmed sales tax, hid profits, and then leveraged those hidden earnings on a massive payoff when the company went public. If you ever wonder how those little mom and pop store manage to keep their doors open, well, this show will make you even more suspicious.

Next: Manufacturing the Song of Summer takes you to music camps – not I am not talking about where you kids go in the summer. I am referring to 25,000 a day jam sessions where top song writers and producers work to create the song you will change the station to get away from. And the $25,000 is just the first drop in the bucket. See how hit songs are manufactured, promoted and see the costs associated.

Creative Commons License photo credit: cmpalmer