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The Curious Wavefunction: Lessons on management styles from Edward Teller, Hans Bethe and Robert Oppenheimer: A question of temperament
Teller, having lived and breathed the bomb, having contributed to both its politics and its science, having seen the vision of its even more powerful descendant (a bomb drawing its energy from nuclear fusion), thinks of himself as a logical choice to head the division.

Oppenheimer instead picks Bethe. It's an omission Teller will not forget.

The decision would have far-reaching consequences for the organization of the Manhattan Project. It would sow the seeds of discontent that would fracture the community of American physicists a decade later. And it would drive home the interplay between management philosophies and the mechanics of complex technological projects that is relevant to this day.
history  science  management  advice  negotiation 
yesterday
A Pattern Language Explained | Permaculture magazine
Christopher Alexander is famous for his book on architecture, A Pattern Language. What is not so well known is that Alexander has spent at least as much of his life in building as in writing, and he and his colleagues have produced some 300 buildings as well as gardens, neighborhoods and rural landscapes. Alexander’s career now spans over half a century, with written works that are acknowledged landmarks of design theory.
architecture  design  reference 
yesterday
Leading Professionals - Laura Empson - Oxford University Press
Leading Professionals
Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas
Laura Empson
Based on 25 years of academic research into professional organizations
Appeals to both academics and professionals
One of the first academic books for practitioners that is based on in-depth and rigorous, theoretically grounded academic research
Based on 500 interviews conducted with senior professionals in some of the world's largest and leading professional organizations
Indicates how findings and ideas can be applied across all professional organizations
Suggests new ways of looking at leadership in a variety of sectors and types of organizations
business  office  sociology  work 
yesterday
The "Yellow Vests" Show How Much the Ground Moves Under Our Feet | Infoshop News
It strikes me that the profound confusion, even incredulity, displayed by the French commentariat—and even more, the world commentariat—in the face of each successive “Acte” of the Gilets Jaunes drama, now rapidly approaching its insurrectionary climax, is a result of a near total inability to take account of the ways that power, labour, and the movements ranged against power, have changed over the last 50 years, and particularly, since 2008. Intellectuals have for the most part done an extremely poor job understanding these changes.
politics  france  neoliberalism  anarchism  argument 
4 days ago
interfluidity » Authority
More often than not, there is not so much cognitive dissonance. Most of us, most of the time, take a huge variety of conjectural “social facts” as given, condition our behavior as if they were true, and to the degree that we even give them a second thought, we believe them to be true. I log into my bank’s website, and check the balance of my account. Most of the time, I take the number presented as an authoritative representation of how much money I have “there”. I would prefer, quite strongly, that the number be millions larger, and my deposit balance at a bank is nothing more or less than what the bank acknowledges that it owes to me, so it is in a small way extraordinary that the bank and I are so willing to agree, despite diametrically opposed economic interests on the matter. But the miracle of authority is that it quells many disputes so thoroughly that parties don’t even imagine that there is any ambiguity or question to argue about. Authoritative information presents itself as factual, even when it (like a bank balance) has no external, empirical referent and is purely a social construction.
culture  ethics  argument  sociology  politics 
5 days ago
Powerless Placebos | Slate Star Codex
The most important study on the placebo effect is Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche’s Is The Placebo Powerless?, updated three years later by a systematic review and seven years later with a Cochrane review. All three looked at studies comparing a real drug, a placebo drug, and no drug (by the third, over 200 such studies) – and, in general, found little benefit of the placebo drug over no drug at all. There were some possible minor placebo effects in a few isolated conditions – mostly pain – but overall H&G concluded that the placebo effect was clinically insignificant. Despite a few half-hearted tries, no one has been able to produce much evidence they’re wrong. This is kind of surprising, since everyone has been obsessing over placebos and saying they’re super-important for the past fifty years.
medicine  science  stats  reference 
5 days ago
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