Problems of Everyday Life

There are Many Problems with Everyday Problems

There are a number of reasons why our everyday problems don’t get solved. Let me note a few of the more common problems with everyday problems, but I am sure you might suggest others that fail to come to my mind at the moment.

The Single Point of Failure. You are working with a complex set of equipment or a system that experiences one simple point of failure, and all stops. I am about to use my smart phone, part of a global technical system, but find that my battery is too low. I’ve stopped doing home repair jobs because I continually find one aspect that fails, leading the whole job to be redone.

The Missing Piece. Closely related to the single failure is the missing piece. You have everything in place to accomplish something, but you are missing one piece. This could be the screw left out of the do it yourself kit, or when the phone runs out of power, you are missing the wire needed to recharge the phone from your laptop. Problems?

The Over-determined Problem. Here the problem is the result of so many failures that it is impossible to attribute the problem to any one or even a small set of failures. Many disasters are over-determined by many things going wrong simultaneously.

The Problem is Too Big. Some problems have a clear solution, which you are equipped to solve, but they are so big and time consuming that you can’t face it. I experience this problem in doing taxes.

The Problem is Too Little. In contrast, some problems are so trivial that you see not point in solving it right here and now. I always put off moving a dirty cup from the counter into the dish washer.

The Problem is not Immediate. This can be confused with problems that are not immediate. You could do it later. I often put my glasses in an odd place, because I can always move them to my desk or bedside later. Although that creates the problem of finding the glasses since the problem was not a problem in the immediate situation, but becomes a time consuming problem when you can’t find the glasses.

The Problem is Down Stream. Solving your problem often needs to wait on someone else solving theirs. A father and son pair of carpenters at my home used to always say “I have a dollar waiting on a nickel.” Until he father did his little bit, the son could not move ahead with the big job.

Not my Problem. You might recognize a problem, but not feel it is yours to solve. Someone else owns the problem. If someone cannot surf, it is not your problem.

It is a Genuine Problem without a Clear Solution. These are rare, but the fear of these often leads you to avoid them.

Surfing is a genuine problem, which is why it is one reason that it is so satisfying.


Joan Baez Surfs

Remarkable concert tonight by Joan Baez. Her voice, lyrics, values — what dignity and grace.

When you are a novice at surfing, everything is hard. You can tell you are learning to surf as it gets easy to paddle out, catch waves, and more. Well you could see Joan Baez showing you how easy it is for her to move her audience. Fifty some years of experience shows in all aspects of her performance.

Joan Baez in Oxford

She dedicated her night to the Occupy Movement. How brillant a fit is that. Joan Baez made anti-war protests meaningful in the 1960s, and the Occupy Movement has helped to resurrect peaceful protests since 2010.

Prediction: Youth will rediscover Joan Baez in 2012 and beyond.

Who is Joseph Kony?

A good deal of controversy surrounds the popularity of the YouTube video on Joseph Kony by Invisible Children, with fact checkers arguing that he has already left the country. But he is still at large and this film is designed to make him famous so that he can be found and held accountable. At last count, nearly 53 million views of the video have been logged on YouTube. It is quite an amazing phenomenon, but one that took the producers nearly a decade to achieve. Do view Kony 2012.

This is Joseph Kony

Reporting with Dignity: Tributes to Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik

The death of Marie Colvin, an American reporter for the UK’s The Sunday Times, and Rémi Ochlik, a French photographer, is tryly tragic. They were killed, along with several others, by an explosion when an artillery shell hit a house from which they were getting ready to evacuate in the city of Homs, Syria. These deaths demonstrated what it costs to enable us to witness events around the world. Two other journalists were injured, but managed to get to Lebanon with help from Syrian rebels: Edith Bouvier, a reporter for Le Figaro, and The Sunday Times photographer, Paul Conroy. The stories of these injured reporters are harrowing as they tell of the massacre being perpetrated in Homs.

So often critics complain about how the role of the news or Internet coverage of events in such contexts is exaggerated. Words don’t matter. Clearly, these journalists understood the significance of their work. What a great profession: Bringing the reality of these events to the world at a time that Syrian authorities deny their role, underscores how significant journalism is to us, and to these dedicated journalists. What a terrific profession. My tributes to all those who have been bringing these events to the world.

Associated Press Photo

Breaking News: Caveman Diet Questioned by Evidence from 30,000 Years Ago

Well I am as enamored by the caveman diet as the next person. We should only eat what we have evolved eating, and not ingest foods invented in the last centuries. It is a wonderful concept and not far off other acclaimed diets that are low carbohydrate. However, what to make of the latest news that ‘grinding stones dating back 30,000 years’ show ‘traces of grains’ (Lars Eriksen, ‘Menu set in stone at Copenhagen’s retro restaurant’, The Guardian, 3 March 2012, p. 27)? Indeed. Contaminated evidence?

If you remain unconvinced, and want to learn more about the ‘Caveman Diet’ aka ‘Paleolithic Diet’, see how to go about it. Healthy, unhealthy? Here is an entertaining video on dieting like a caveman – ‘paleo health’, which talks about this as far more than a diet, but a lifestyle change.

Questioning Caveman Diet