The Paradigm Shift of Systems Theory I. The Perspective of Systems Theory and its Relationship to the Traditional Mainstream Sciences, and its Approach to Mental Illness “Systems theory” is the name given to both a broad perspective and a large body of knowledge which has formed through the original efforts of many men and women in the last century, all of whom were working under the impulses of an important epistemological paradigm shift. That shift- the implications of which are too numerous and transformative to state or explain adequately in one place- was from the causal/linear and reductionist perspective that had largely dominated scientific thinking in their time, to an interactional perspective that explored reality in important new ways. From the perspective of the traditional sciences, the paradigm shift of systems theory was and is both radical and subversive. A Radical Shift Running for Cover To these pained souls, responses can be given. The Myth of Mental Illness But where is the problem? II.
All the news that's fit to pay for In early 2011, I turned to Spot.Us, a crowdfunding journalism experiment that at the time was running with seed money from the Knight Foundation and led by media upstart David Cohn. My aim was to subsidize the fee I'd earn from an article for Earth Island Journal, to expand my reporting and the story's scope. I raised $400 in short order, which buoyed my confidence that this model could really be a game-changer for freelance journalists. Then I realized something a little terrible: my in-laws had fronted nearly half those dollars. While I deeply appreciated -- and gladly accepted -- the support, I could not shake the feeling that I was just fleecing my family and friends to support my writing habit. Recently logging onto Spot.Us for the first time in more than a year, I found the digital equivalent of a ghost town, with spam tumbleweeds flitting across its Twitter feed. Not all of these experiments will succeed, and some consolidation is likely. Photo: brewbooks/Flickr
How To Focus: 5 Research-Backed Secrets To Concentration A question a lot of us are struggling with these days is “how to focus.” Concentration seems hard. Why does everyone joke about having ADD? There’s a reason… Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and bestselling author of Driven to Distraction, says we have “culturally generated ADD.” Via CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Having treated ADD since 1981, I began to see an upsurge in the mid-1990s in the number of people who complained of being chronically inattentive, disorganized, and overbooked. Conspiracy theorists rejoice! The world is not acting in our long-term benefit. Let’s fix this. The first thing we need to look at answers the big question that’s on all our minds: why does it seem to be so much harder to focus than it was in the past? 1) Focus Is A Muscle You bounce around between apps on your phone, email, TV and Facebook. Most of us know multitasking is bad when you’re working. 2) Clear Your Head What’s going on here? 5) Get Your Sleep
Lessons in Well Drilling Spill into the Classroom A project to bring clean water to residents of Namawanga, Kenya, serves as an example in lesson plans for middle-school students. Update Nov. 12, 2012: Curricula videos now on YouTube, see belowSince 2006, student engineers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have teamed with residents of Namawanga, Kenya, to clean the town's drinking water – and teach U.S. students in more than 100 middle and high schools math, science, and social studies. Pastures flank the town's streams and tests detected e.coli in the water. To solve the problem, the residents and students in Engineers Without Borders at UMass are drilling a well and building spring boxes around the water source to protect it from contamination. At the same time, the UMass project is meshed with a multi-disciplinary curriculum for middle and high schools. The lessons spin off from an EWB video documentary about clean water for Kenyans. Virtual engineering Issues in water treatment is one of three curricula.
Thinking with systems—Part 1 | Beyond this Brief Anomaly This week’s post is the first in a three-part introduction to the formal language of energy, as a foundation for subsequent discussion about just what it is that the energy concept deals with. My aim is to cover some essential ideas here—where they come from, how they relate to one another—in sufficient detail for later inquiry into the higher-level relationships between energy and societal futures. A central purpose of the approach I’m advocating is to maintain a connection between our understanding and use of energy-related concepts, and day-to-day experience of our physical world. It’s my contention that we might then be better placed to appreciate and respond to the societal dilemmas we’re confronted with through clear eyes—as free as possible from the fog of confused conceptions. In last week’s post, I introduced the energy concept as the capacity to do work or transfer heat. In the most straightforward terms, what it is, is a system. An introduction to systems
IBM Research Africa | Gallery Capture or render original images that best define one or more of the competition Category 1:African Grand Challenges What are the grand challenges that need to be addressed for Africa to realise its full potential? Improved access to food and drinkable water? Category 2:African City Systems What systems do African cities depend on? Infrastructure like roads, buildings and bridges? What makes a city smart? Category 3:African Innovation What are the solutions that people are implementing across Africa to overcome everyday challenges? New technologies applied to address perennial problems such as solar panels and wind turbines?
6 Ways To De-Stress After Work A full day at work can be extremely taxing on your mind and body – no matter if you’re on your feet or sitting at a desk. Instead of coming home and mindlessly plopping onto the couch, I’m sharing 6 tips you should start incorporating to your post-work routine. Many people will automatically sigh, ‘but i have kids I have to take care of!’, ‘Dinner I have to make!’ – and this may be true. These tips can help you ‘productively’ unwind, re-energizing your mind to become inspired to save some time for yourself. It seems impossible that you can’t find 20 minutes for yourself – at least if you’re making a conscious effort to. Plants are more than just a pretty accessory for your home. Herbal teas (like chamomile) have a soothing effect, plus they boost hydration (which provides added energy). All busy day long we are caught in stress cycles, running here & there, and sitting for long periods of time. A relaxing epson salt soak helps reduce stress from the bottom up!
Math Training Initiative Innovative Math Training Initiative Ground breaking Math initiative educating underprivileged children in slum and village communities via The Khan Academy teaching modules! Research shows that math learning is a vital component in children’s long-term educational development and ability to get a self-sustaining job after school. A proper math education in India enables a child to be streamlined into a normative high school and ultimately into the mainstream workforce. Unfortunately, access to the good math training is rare in India and teaching math in the slums and remote villages is difficult for many logistic reasons. The Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), an innovative e-learning solution sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Google Company, provides accessible math modules on the internet in order to enable an child anywhere to obtain a free world-class education. The modules will have an even broader impact.
Systemic vs. Systematic When was the last time you thought about why your business does what it does? Every business exists to produce a certain result — a service or a product — but have you ever asked yourself, "Why do we do it this way?" That question is the essence of strategic thinking. And strategic thinking is the result of having a systemic perspective of your business that accomplishes what it does in a systematic way. More Than Mere Semantics So what is the distinction between systemic and systematic? Systematic, on the other hand, refers to following a clearly defined and organized process. So why is it important to know the difference? Strategy and Tactics If we go beyond definitions and look at these two perspectives in a more practical way we might talk about them in terms of business strategy and business tactics. The tendency among business owners when faced with a problem is to look immediately to solutions that are close by. Doing the Right Things vs. Share Your Story
Freedom from shareholders: how to succeed as an open-source business For many launching businesses in today's fast-moving tech sector, the goal is to attract investors and shareholders, and eventually selling it all to an even larger company. One tech vendor, however, is bucking this urge, preferring instead to have a positive impact on its communities -- both users and the cities in which it is locating offices. "A lot of companies are following that typical Silicon Valley path," says Bryan Cheung, CEO and co-founder of Liferay, Inc., a Los Angeles-based company which provides portal technology to organizations. "They’ve got their investors, and they’re aiming for that acquisition or that public offering. We're very conscientious about not doing that. We're still independent, privately held, with no outside capital." I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cheung at Liferay's recent confab in San Francisco, in which he expounded on his company's unique philosophy toward innovation and community development. Thumbnail photo: Liferay