Non-Urban Design

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There’s this kind-of discipline that exists at the intersection of architecture, geography, economics, politics, and civil engineering.  I know almost nothing about it, so that qualifies me to sound off.

This discipline is another aspect of behavior.  The better their theories about behavior in general, and specifically regarding living conditions, the better their work.

So here’s a fun project for our unsung planners.  Consider this scenario.  You have a planet, much like Earth, and a good distribution of resources.  Nothing is infinite, but let’s not go too crazy.  Speaking of crazy, let’s limit the area to 100,000 square kilometers.

What’s the smallest city-size you can make for a city-state containing 10 million people?

What’s a city?  Let’s say it’s a concentration of people more than 1,000 per square kilometer, OR the same area containing two or more buildings taller than three stories.

Yes, my conditions are a bit arbitrary, but it’s a start.  With today’s technologies, why do we even need cities?  Let the planners chew on this.  And who knows?  They might come up with some pretty cool ideas that we can use to eventually get rid of cities entirely.

Now THAT’S planning.

 

Jeweler Screws

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As a student of behavior, it’s great to make sweeping generalizations inspiring others.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to ignore details that muddy up one’s life.

This is one of those diddly details.  I’m trying to make the best of it, and use it as a lesson for staying on track and being a good STUDENT of behavior, instead of a VICTIM.

For our 25th anniversary, and for Valentines, and for her 50th birthday, and for recognizing neutron stars, I wanted to do something very special for my wife in solid gold.  That’s total gold.  24 carat.  No extra ingredients.

Jewelers don’t like pure gold because it’s very soft.  But I wanted pure gold in a very special shape.  Not only because it was a special occasion with special math involved (halves and all that), but also because physicists and chemists had figured out where gold comes from.

Colliding neutron stars.  Cool, huh?  So all the gold on Earth started out as space dust spewed out from a couple of neutron stars that couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

Now, four years ago when I did this, it was only a partial theory than generally accepted physics, because there was no evidence.  Then, only last year, we got evidence.  Three huge telescopes that are set up to measure gravity waves recorded the collision of two neutron stars.  Bang.  Gold!  And a whole lot of other heavy elements.

Back to me and the jeweler.  I asked them to make this.  They were local, they were nice, and they did it.  Cost a lot.  My bride was very happy.  She always is.  Heck I could have made it out of steel and she would have been just as happy.

Fast forward four years.  The jeweler has moved.  My wife is taking out the jewelry, and guess what?  It’s tarnished.  What?  She tries to remove the tarnish, and it doesn’t come off.

Gold doesn’t tarnish.  I’m feeling, angry, anguished, cheated, vengeful, disappointed, angry again, depressed, and trapped.  Angry with them, angry with myself.  How could I have allowed this to happen?

I’ll go to another jeweler and get it checked.  I’ll go to a lawyer and see what my options are.  But my guess is that the money is gone, along with my friendly jeweler.

What’s the lesson?  I’ll let you help me figure it out.  The bigger point is that I can’t let it get to me.  My wife is still happy, she always will be.  The money is still gone, and it’s unlikely to come back.

At least this life’s lesson, this life event, can live on the internets so that others may be able to learn from it before it happens to them.

Learning.  That’s what being a student is all about.  I just wish it didn’t have to be so darn expensive.

Or painful.

 

Business Behavior Lessons

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This is something I’ve wanted to do for some time.  It’s also something that I’ve been dreading to do for some time.

So is business. Learn while you can.

I’m sure many of you know what that feels like.

The time has come, however.

I’ve been a committed student of behavior since I turned 17.  It was one of those fooling youthful purpose things filled with idealism and belief in the future.

What a dork!

Not being smart enough to jump on the internet bubble, I’ve stuck to my ideals.  That’s why I’m still doing this today.

One of the very first choices I had to make was which discipline was the most advanced.  Psychology Science sounded good, but was less than a hundred years old.  Remember, I was 17 at the time, and that was over 40 years ago!

Religion has been around for thousands of years, but it’s not exactly very rigorous.  Economics was possible, but their track record was poor, even back then.  I wanted a discipline that had to know what it was doing, or it would fail.

That discipline turned out to be business.

Yes, business as a discipline for learning about behavior is a good start.  But there are some problems.

For one thing, it’s not very rigorous.  You only have to be “sufficiently” accurate in business to beat the competition.  There’s no real incentive to record your learning beyond one generation, because there is no respect for communal knowledge.

And the whole idea about sharing information with others?  Forget it.  Everything becomes competitive secrets.  So when you do develop a tool or model that beats the other guys, the last thing you do is share it.  You use it to make lots of money, eat up their market share, and then sell out for a massive profit after your IPO becomes part of your exit strategy.

That’s why I studied business, and then a lot of other disciplines.  No one discipline of study was the best, each had its benefits.

That said, I went into business.  I learned some things.  And one thing I learned is that business people are bad at sharing.  That’s why business schools make money.

Well, here’s a series of posts that are going to be all about an important business lesson that I’ve learned.  It has to deal with using commissioned salespeople in the state of Michigan.  Our company lost a lawsuit, and it’s going to cost us about a quarter million before it’s all over.

One of the many things that hurts is that this is a booby-trap that the state created, ready to be sprung on unsuspecting manufacturers by disgruntled salesmen.  Everything is biased towards the “little guy” against the big guy manufacturer.

But the law overlooks ethics.  It assumes everyone knows the law ahead of time.  And it assumes that decency and politeness count for absolutely nothing.

That’s the law.  It’s how it works.  This is my attempt at helping someone else out there who may be using “reps” (short for manufacturer’s representatives) in the state of Michigan.  If you’re interested in this specifically, follow this thread.

If you’re into business, or law, or ethics, you may also be interested.  I’m going to break this up into as many “fun” little bits that I can so it’s not too boring.

For the rest of you, please bear with me.  It’s one of those things I have to do, even though I dread it.