I came across this paper while looking for descriptions of hierarchical organization within honeybee hives. The following includes comprehensive notes and thoughts from the paper "Revising the Superorganism" by Canciani et al (2019). Notes on: Revising the Superorganism: An Organizational Approach to Complex Eusociality Eusociality as example of social integration;
Late summer in California increasingly implies preparing for wildfire smoke. By “preparing” I mean focusing on indoor air quality, and in particular: Particulate Matter 2.5. We’re instructed to seal off our windows and doors from the outside and– if able– convert our bedrooms into clean rooms. The number
I’ve been trying to better understand Liu Cixin’s writing style in hopes of improving my own. (That is, his Chinese writing translated into English.) One story caught my attention on a recent Sunday afternoon, as I rummaged around my house pretending to clean while daydreaming about dinosaur technocrats.
Last month I was lucky to spend several weeks luxuriating in complexity science. Hosted by the Santa Fe Institute, the Complexity Interactive program is a virtual, part-time course focused on complex systems— equal parts lecture, discussion, group project, and mental orgy. Attendance was a gift to myself after many years
Working Backwards by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr describes in detail the inner workings of Amazon, including the development of its best practices over a nearly 3-decade history. The chapter Organizing: Separable, Single-Threaded Leadership quickly jumped out at me. Separable teams? Where had I heard that idea before? It didn’
This post is cross-posted on the Build Incentive newsletter, a new project of mine. Why focus on embodied emissions?When I surveyed the landscape of Embodied, Operational, and End-of-Life emissions in the built environment last fall, it was clear that Operational was the cool kid at the party. In the
“In this paper I should like to report on some things we have been learning about particular kinds of complex systems encountered in the behavioral sciences.” An outline of Herbert Simon’s 1962 essay, “The Architecture of Complexity“ INTRODUCTIONObjective: Describe the usefulness of complex systems across fields. By being abstract,
Problems of organized complexity The case for a simple pattern Concluding her famous ode to cities in 1961, Jane Jacobs writes, “Cities happen to be problems of organized complexity.” From sidewalks of access to sidewalks of place, cities deal “simultaneously with a sizable number of factors which are interrelated into
A short explainer on HVAC. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. When we say “HVAC” we most often mean the TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEMS that deliver heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in a building. Most commonly, a single HVAC system delivers all three of these functions (although decoupled systems are
Pre-Print? This is still a work in progress; I will continue to update this post over the coming weeks This piece explores why re-orienting buildings around public health is so important, and it offers areas of opportunity (particularly for indoor air quality via HVAC) for anyone– not just building technologists!
Stewart Brand asks a great question: Did Herbert Simon explore the maintenance of systems? I haven’t found Simon discuss maintenance explicitly. But two related themes are worth highlighting: (1) Simon discusses maintenance through the topic of homeostasis. “For example, Maintenance of a system becomes much simpler if the internal
My understanding of maintenance:More: capable to continue to evolveLess: contain at status quo / steady stateRelated to infrastructure:Keep flexible so can accommodate future changesAnd don’t forget the personal maintenance it takes to pursue unique ideas or to have sufficient “slack” to emotionally support others The Cybernetics of MaintenanceCybernetics
A listening dialogue on infrastructureLike any good art project, this idea has been percolating in my mind for a while now. A side project related but very different from my day-to-day. I propose hosting a day-long listening dialogue on the role of infrastructure across disciplines. This gathering would bring together