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January 23 2014


The Great Book of Knowledge, Part 2 | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio

We used to need libraries to make the sum of human knowledge available to all. Today we have Wikipedia, where the sum of human knowledge can be shaped by all of us. But can we trust it? Philip Coulter suggests that the collective mind is perhaps the best mind http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2014/01/22/the-great-book-of-knowledge-part-2-1/

January 02 2014


Assange: Governments 'aspire to god-like knowledge'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the subject of knowledge, and its relationship with power. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/today
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December 15 2013


» Greyskull Academy Seminar Experience (Podcast Included)

Greyskull Academy Seminar Experience (Podcast Included) by Jason Kapnick This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Johnny Pain’s “Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences” seminar. In just two days of “Full Immersion Learning,” I felt my level of preparedness rose exponentially for the unfortunate possibility of finding myself in an asocially violent situation. I’ve been involved in martial arts for much of my life (a lot of MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, as well as some traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Karate), and John’s blog posts and “Principles of Violence” e-book were real eye openers for me. The reality is that an asocial conflict differs fundamentally from social or sport violence. John’s real world experience, principle-based teaching system, and effective communication skills make him better suited to teach these methods than nearly anyone else on earth. To be clear, this is not “martial arts” in the traditional sense of that term. The Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences deals little in codified and pre-determined techniques, but almost entirely in principles and outcome-based problem solving. Friday night began with several hours of lectures and demonstrations. We learned that “action” has an overwhelming advantage over “reaction”—the latter simply involves too many mental and physical steps to be effective. This point was driven home with multiple examples, drills, and scenarios. The idea of “action vs. reaction” becomes even more powerful when combined with knowledge of what constitutes “injury” and the spinal reflex arc. Indeed, “causing injury” was the central theme of the weekend. Among a few other criteria, an Injury causes one’s opponent to enter “spinal reflex”—predictable, involuntary physiological reactions to trauma. John taught us how causing injury lets us take full advantage of being the “action man” while a would-be attacker is helplessly reacting to our will. At the end of Friday night, all the attendees had a very clear idea of what needs to be done in an asocially violent situation (cause injury!), but we didn’t yet have the tools to do so. This is where we began Saturday morning. The day started with our first “Target Index” module. John and his assistant instructors explained three to five targets on our opponent, and some basic strikes to attack each (demonstrated from a variety of positions relative to the target). John was excellent at explaining the physiological effects of each target, and in differentiating between which targets were lethal and which non-lethal. We then broke out and practiced these techniques on our partners. Having such an in-depth knowledge of the principles of the system, the learning curve on each target was remarkably fast. Each target index module ended with 10-15 minutes of “problem solving” where we applied our knowledge to unstructured scenarios performed as close to live speed as we were safely able. The mantra “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” was repeated over and over again. With each target assembly module, John began layering in more and more concepts and techniques. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the more we learned, the simpler our problem solving sessions became. While our initial sessions were awkward and inefficient as we struggled to achieve our outcome with so few tools, each tool we got made us increasingly able to achieve our outcome (cause injury!). This is an important point, and herein truly lies the advantage of starting with principles rather than techniques. For most of my martial arts career, learning more techniques meant greater complexity, as each new technique expanded the amount of options I had to decide between. By contrast, at Greyskull ACS, we were “outcome focused” and learning a new strike or target fit immediately within the principle-based framework we had already established. Using this framework, we were able to impute techniques we had not even been specifically taught. For example, early in the day Saturday, John taught us the proper method for using the elbow against the solar plexus target. Later in the day, during one of my problem solving sessions, I found myself using a very similar strike to the thyroid cartilage target. Though I had not specifically learned an “elbow to the thyroid cartilage” coordination set, I was intimately familiar with how to strike effectively and with the spinal reflex arc of the thyroid cartilage target, and was thus easily able to perform the technique. By the end of the day Saturday, the problems solving looked remarkably different than it had in the morning. We were striking efficiently and moving smoothly as we problem-solved through different angles of attack, different starting positions, facing armed attackers, and more. After some awesome steaks John cooked for us Saturday evening, we returned to the academy Sunday morning eager to learn. We began with another target index lesson. By this point, the modules had become increasingly more complex – incorporating elements of footwork, striking targets that we couldn’t directly see, and the basics of joint-breaking. We continued to systematically install one skill set after another, since each skill simply built on what we had already learned. Even compared to the night before, problem solve sessions at this point were remarkably easy, despite the scenarios continuing to escalate in complexity. My seminar was cut a bit short on Sunday due to inclement weather, but I still came away with an incredibly deep understanding of John’s powerful system, and the knowledge that I am now vastly more prepared for any situation I might encounter in real life. John is a truly incredible teacher. He is patient with his students, and seems to know exactly what to say in order to help us form the proper mental framework to apply the materials. Those that have not had the opportunity to learn from John in person are absolutely missing out. I cannot recommend The Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences highly enough. I hope you enjoyed Jason’s review of this past weekend’s event. It went exceptionally well, with both standard attendees, and instructor development program students in attendance. Check out the podcast below which features three of the attendees discussing the event. -JP Also, if you haven’t yet, pick up your copy of my book “Principles of Violence” to receive a full introduction to the principles and material taught at the live events. Click on the image below to visit the store and snag your copy. http://strengthvillain.com/podcast/seminarpodcast.mp3VillainSix Seminar Podcast. Right Click to Download Related posts:My Greyskull ACS Principles of Violence Course Experience Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences Three-Day Seminar Overview Mental Preparedness for Self Defense- Podcast Episode 5 Included 01-13 Class Seminar Weekend Recap http://www.strengthvillain.com/?p=2170

December 10 2013


Amazon Prime (73 MB)

Awesome! I was wondering when you were going to get around to talking about this. With the coming agreement on sales tax, it sure seems like Amazon will start to do same-day delivery in many major metro regions, and this will dramatically change retailing.A few disjoint thoughts on the economics, from a non-Amazon Prime subscriber:It seems to me that when we go to a local store-front hosted store, we're paying a premium for four things:1. Availability and inventory - it's Sunday afternoon and I need a MacGuffin right now to finish the project I'm working on.2. Merchandising - we may very well not have known we wanted something until we saw it there.3. Community - running into people we know, having conversations with neighbors.4. Knowledge - the staff in the hardware store who knows how to fix that thing.One of the problems with big box stores, especially like Home Despot and Lowe's, is that they've abandoned the low-turnover items in order to keep prices low. And trade or more local hardware stores used to subsidize some of the costs of those low-turnover items with the items that moved more (ie: Everything gets a 30% markup, no matter how quickly it turns). With the race to the bottom of the big box stores, cheaper versions of brands that already were sketchy, abandoning the low-turnover but often necessary items, the smaller more focused stores started following along, and now many of those items are special-order.So the down-side to Amazon Prime could be that we're losing the local inventory of the special-order items, the up-side is that with a customer base of a couple of million people covered by the distribution network, what went from in-stock to a 2 week special order will now be a next-day or same-day item.Merchandising will always exist to some extent. People talk about clothing and food as the last hold-outs, but these days I buy my clothing from CostCo, and though I doubt that the grocery section will go away any time soon, I know that at least one neighbor buys most of their processed or prepackaged food from Amazon Prime.Now we get to the harder ones: Community and knowledge. In watching how the downtown of the cute little tourist town I inhabit, I'm amazed and slightly shocked at how the whole space is going to Yoga studios and coffee shops. But, really, that's going towards paying directly for much of what we want from the retail experience: Social spaces. I'll be fascinated to see how this continues to play out, whether we'll reclaim our living rooms again,or whether we'll find other excuses (and other forms for those public spaces, maybe some which are more "pub" like, with smaller rooms for break-out discussions).Finally, on knowledge, as y'all point out, the net is taking this over. But the weird thing about this is that reputation management in search engines is now becoming the source of value, not the knowledge itself. No longer can we assume that the guy in the small local Ace affiliate knows his stuff, and the guy in the big chain hardware store is going to lead you astray, on the Internet, nobody knows if you're a big box blow-hard.What this seems to point to to me is that product directions, not just retailing mechanisms, will bifurcate. On the one hand you'll have the commodity products that Best Buy was trying to sell become ordered from Amazon, on the other hand, you'll have the Apple store model.This will happen in other places: I've become a fan of a fairly expensive line of power tools. Festool keeps a very short leash on its dealers with respect to pricing. That dealers can't compete on price means they compete on other factors, so not only am I buying a product which isn't designed as a "I have to sell cheaper than Black & Decker" tool to move for the homeowner who will only use it twice, I'm buying the service from a dealer who says "yeah, bring that piece you can't cut down to the shop and use my tools for it".The good news is that the agreements that it looks like Amazon is coming to means that towns will get their sales tax back. The bad(?) news is that commercial and retail space will be dramatically changing. I'm not sure what this means for downtowns yet, but I'm guessing that the strip malls and mid-sized stores are going to have some very painful adaptations. http://www.strongtowns.org/strong-towns-podcast/2012/10/4/show-113-amazon-prime.html

December 01 2011


Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson

A discussion about science, society, and the universe with Stephen Colbert, who is out of character, at the Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/watch/2010/01/29/stephen-colbert-interview-montclair-kimberley-academy

September 02 2011


David Deutsch And The Beginning of Infinity

Quantum computing genius and Oxford don David Deutsch is a thinker of such scale and audaciousness he can take your breath away. His bottom line is simple and breathtaking all at once. It’s this: human beings are the most important entities in the universe. Or as Deutsch might have it, in the “multiverse.” For eons, little changed on this planet, he says. Progress was a joke. But once we got the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution, our powers of inquiry and discovery became infinite. Without limit.
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