A Year Without History

I read a lot of history, almost to the exclusion of any other type of book. We’ll that changes today. The challenge is to not read a non-fiction history book for one year. I started at the beginning of April when I picked up Foucault’s Pendulum by Eco. Next up is the 2015 collection if Best American Travel Writing.

I’ll take suggestions to build my list.

City Flags

I love the city flag TED talk and all the effort that are cropping up to reform and re-do city flags to produce a sense of local pride. (You can find the videos and examples at the Atlanta City Flag site.) Not everyone can be Chicago or DC but it’s worth  a shot.

How excited am I? I tried my hand at a new ATL flag. FYI – I have ZERO design skills and did this on SVG-edit for free! The general idea is the railroads which formed this city as the backdrop with the red of the Civil War fire and the green of this city’s many trees.



Heretical Thoughts

If I could get rid of one Saint, I might choose Bernard of Clairvaux. Why?

1. The attacks and seeming vendetta on the mind of the period, Peter Abelard.

2. His responsibility for the disastrous Second Crusade.

3. His foreshadowing of the Inquisition, with attacks on Cathars, Henricians, and others.

A nasty man. Europe was on the cusp of something great in the mid 1100s and I feel like he was at the forefront of shutting it down.

Alton Brown’s Eat Your Science Tour

If the tour is coming near you, I recommend you go. Alton is funny, educational and all-around entertaining. And yes, it’s a kid-friendly show in case you wanted to bring the rug rats. If anything I would say it gets a little “rowdy” because he certainly doesn’t do anything to discourage audience participation.

This will give you an idea.


But the one thing that bothered me was Alton’s prodding of the audience to “take a picture of this” or “go ahead and post that.” Phones were out the whole show. Which is awesome because the second screen experience is the kind of bullshit I love. (Bojack Horseman, anyone?) But it can be distracting from what’s actually going on up on the stage, and you get weirdly sucked into third and fourth screens. Turn down your brightness people. Please.


Today I was at a client’s office who is about to move. And so, it was time to clean out the file cabinets and move as little as possible.

There are rules about document retention so much remains, but I threw out perhaps 10 banker boxes worth of material. All of it useless, or worse. If you roll that way, hundreds of trees died for very little. Certainly energy was expended wastefully.

Concurrently, the same office was giving Slack a try. I’m not sold on it yet, and of course its real value is intra-team, so in my business with many clients it seems to be somewhat misplaced, but still at this client it is picking up steam. (And yes, I am aware of Ryver.)

It seems like many of these productivity tools are designed specifically by and inadvertently for the tech community. They build what they know, but their applicability across sectors is questionable.

But back to paper. Both paperlessness and the frictionless, open communication office have been promised for a long time. But we never get there and I don’t think we ever will.

First, we are physical so we like objects and that includes paper. I will amend this when we are loosed from being meatbags. Second, we are fallen and mistaken human beings, and so communication will always be fraught with peril. “That’s not what I meant” is the key phrase throughout history. I will amend this when we achieve mind-reading, and then only maybe. Our thoughts may still be coded in the medium of language, so imperfect.