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I just finished reading "A Voyage Long and Strange" by… - Invisus Manus
September 7th, 2009
05:46 pm


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I just finished reading "A Voyage Long and Strange" by Tony Horowitz. This is about his travels following the explorers during the pre-colonial period in the U.S. I am always interested in how things begin so I've been to many of these sites on vacations. We'll get to see Zuni pueblo on our trip to Santa Fe at Christmas this year. I've read several of his other books about his travels in the footsteps of Captain Cook's voyages and "A Confederate in the Attic".  The book identified a number of cases of racism and discrimination between Indians and blacks. I had no idea that a county official, by declaring many of Virginia's Indians to be negros, effectively barred them from collecting any government Indian benefits contributing to its status as the state with the lowest Indian population in the U.S. They all left the state to find places they could qualify. So you can't say that county officials don't affect anybody. I also didn't realize that the Lumbee in N.C. intermarried with the Lost Colony people and free blacks. This is why they don't have classic Indian features and there is tension between them and other non-Lumbee tribes in N.C.

I started reading "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. He's pointed out a number of factors that allow individuals to succeed or fail in spite of high IQ. Once your IQ is over 115, there is no relationship to your success. Many Nobel Prize winners went to state colleges. The key was not IQ, but rather their ability to think creatively. It turns out that being in your mid-thirties when a major technical breakthrough occurs in your field, having access to technology in advance of your peers (like Bill Joy or Bill Gates with real-time computing vs. punchcards), being born just after the great depression (less people like after the Great Plague in Europe = more resources per capita), being born middle class vs. poor (key factor is that middle class parents cultivate opportunities outside school to determine your talents and a sense of entitlement that makes kids emboldened  to achieve their goals), and being born just after the cutoff for a sport or school (best hockey players are the biggest in January when the cutoff is, while students born in September/October tend to outperform others).  His goal is to show how many people our education system fails because we hold the myth that people lifted themselves up by hard work or were born gifted. There are a lot of systematic biases that allow some individuals with the good factors to succeed while others with similar IQ and talents fail that lack those factors. It's highly readable and now I'm thinking about using some of this knowledge to affect my management in the future.

This weekend we went to the Diamonds exhibit at the Museum of Natural Sciences. It was interesting but I would have liked them to integrate the major mines with the jewelery examples and the technological part (ex. during the medieval period most diamonds were from secondary river sites in India and were uncut resulting in necklaces with octagonal stones with the lower half set in gold). I could see they were trying to sell to the folks that a) liked rocks, b) liked history, and c) liked technology and engineering applications, but they could have integrated these three sections and made it a lot more interesting. I realized that I could have seen U2 3D all summer and now it's gone. Their upcoming exhibit for 2009 is
Spirits and Headhunters: Vanishing Worlds of the Amazon
    October 9, 2009 – January 10, 2010

Sep 12 is Museum District Day with free entrance to 17 museums in Houston

MFAH upcoming exhibits for 2009 are:
Arts of Ancient Vietnam   September 13, 2009 - January 3, 2010
The Moon: "Houston, Tranquility Base Here. The Eagle Has Landed    September 27, 2009 - January 10, 2010
Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography    October 18, 2009 - January 3, 2010
Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea
    November 22, 2009 - February 14, 2010


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