The Naturalist

She was born a Natural.

Born when it wasn’t natural.

“Mathematics are the natural bent of my mind”
— Mary Somervillemarysomervillebyswinton

It was in her nature to be a scientist — damn the culture.

In fact, she was to become the first named scientist.  William Whewell, in his 1834 review of Somerville’s Connexion, coined the word “scientist” to describe Somerville.

Her mother taught her to read the Bible and Calvinist catechisms, and when not occupied with household chores Mary roamed among the birds and flowers in the garden.  In her autobiography Somerville recollects that after returning from sea her father said to her mother “This kind of life will never do, Mary must at least know how to write and keep accounts”. Thus the 10-year-old was sent for a year of tuition at Musselburgh, an expensive boarding school. Somerville learned the first principles of writing, rudimentary French and English grammar. Upon returning home, she:

“…was no longer amused in the gardens, but wandered about the country. When the tide was out I spent hours on the sands, looking at the star-fish and sea-urchins, or watching the children digging for sand-eels, cockles, and the spouting razor-fish. I made collections of shells, such as were cast ashore, some so small that they appeared like white specks, some so small that they appeared like white specks in patches of black sand. There was a small pier on the sands for shipping limestone brought from the coal mines inland. I was astonished to see the surface of these blocks of stone covered with beautiful impressions of what seemed to be leaves; how they got there I could not imagine, but I picked up the broken bits, and even large pieces, and brought them to my repository.”

Mary Somerville, Architect Rational, (1780-1872) was an innovative and talented science communicator, with an extraordinary (and mostly self taught) grasp of mathematics in an era when most women had no access to formal education. As a direct result of her work, calculus was introduced to the English speaking scientific world, the idea of physics (as a single subject containing topics such as optics, thermodynamics and astronomy) was invented, and the term “scientist” was coined to describe people who studied the various sciences.

Continue reading

Learn

Only the self-educated and educated person is free.
David Mark Keirsey

fancy-frederick-douglass

“Without education we live within the narrow, dark and grimy walls of ignorance. Education, on the other hand, means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of a human into the glorious light of truth, the light by which humans can only be made free. To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is easy to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness and to defeat the very end of their being.”  — Frederick Douglass, –Blessings of Liberty and Education (1894).

Douglass, as an adolescent slave roaming the streets of Baltimore, Maryland would hunt for scattered newspapers, torn Bible pages, scanning broadsides, and generally searching for anything with reading matter.

He had a hunger for knowledge and learning.   For Frederick Douglass is a classical example of a Rational, more specifically what we call a Strategic Coordinating Rational: A FieldmarshalRationals are “the Knowledge-Seeking” Temperament.

Strategic Coordinators

Those Rationals who are quick to judge and to make schedules are eager to take the part of Coordinator. Coordinators determine who is to do what at a given time and place, and this role requires a directive character. Coordinators steadily increase in directiveness as they mature, such that they easily and comfortably command others and expect to be obeyed. Indeed, Coordinators are surprised by any resistance to their directives, because it is so clear to them that others do not know what to do, presumably because their goal is unclear or absent, and because they apparently have no strategy in mind by which to proceed. So, in the view of the Coordinator, most people are operating blindly and going around in circles, plainly in need of direction.

Fieldmarshals arrange a well-ordered hierarchy that makes possible the chain of command and the mobilizing of forces. In their campaigns these expressive, energetic Coordinators commandeer whatever human capabilities and material resources are available and use them to execute a complex strategy … Any kind of undertaking, whether commercial, educational, political, or military — whatever — can be arranged hierarchically, indeed must be if success is to be achieved, and the more efficient the hierarchy, the greater the success.  [Please Understand Me II]

Fieldmarshal Rationals include: Marvin MinskyTan LeMuriel SiebertJerry BussJohn AdamsIndra Nooyi, William Pitt, the YoungerEllen Sirleaf and Joyce Banda, and Margaret Thatcher.

RosenRobert

Robert Rosen, Strategic Engineer: Architect, had a similar thirst for knowledge, but in a different way and of course, it was significantly different time, place, and circumstance, from Douglass.

life

When I was five or six, I was taken to see the Disney film “Fantasia”. I remember being mesmerized by the panoply of life through the eons, which the Disney cartoonists set to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. This was worth spending a lifetime with. Though I did not even know the word at the time, had already determined to become a Biologist.

By that age, I had long since learned not to ask complicated questions of the adults around me, either family or teachers, because they didn’t know. Although I had no idea then where they came from, books seemed more authoritative, so I began reading anything I could find dealing with life and the living. Unconsciously, I was casting about for information, not only about this life which fascinated me, but on how one best went about understanding it; information on how to be the kind of Biologist I increasingly aspired to be.”

Strategic Engineers

Engineers structure the form and function of the instruments to be employed in pursuing objectives, and is the domain of the probing Rationals, those who prefer to keep their options open and to follow an idea where it leads them. Concentrated as they are on determining the ways and means of operation, Engineers tend to have an informative rather than a directive character, which is to say that they are usually eager to provide information and reports regarding what they are currently engineering, but not at all eager to tell others what to do.

Architects make structural plans, models, blueprints. To these reserved Engineers, often working alone at their desks, drafting tables, and computers, the coherence of their designs is what counts, the elegance of their configurations, be they plans for a building, an experiment, a curriculum, or a weapon of war. [Please Understand Me II]

Architect Rationals include:  David Mark KeirseyJames MadisonSrinivasa RamanujanEmmy NoetherPaul DiracRobert RosenDavid West KeirseyAlbert EinsteinLonnie AthensDavid Bohm

oliver_sacks_library

He wrote many books.

Oliver Wolf Sacks, Strategic Engineer: Inventor, (9 July 1933 – 30 August 2015) was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author. Born in Great Britain, and mostly educated there, he spent his career in the United States. He believed that the brain is the “most incredible thing in the universe.” He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about both his patients’ and his own disorders and unusual experiences, with some of his books adapted for plays by major playwrights, feature films, animated short films, opera, dance, fine art, and musical works in the classical genre.

Beginning in 1970, Sacks wrote of his experience with neurological patients. Some of his 12 books have been translated into over 25 languages.

Inventors develop their skill in devising prototypes more than their skill in designing models. To these outgoing Engineers, functionality is the objective, as in the case of Nikola Tesla, the gifted inventor of the split-phase electric motor, the giant coil, alternating current, the radio, the inert gas light bulb, and countless other ingenious devices. Inventors must make sure their prototypes don’t just make sense on paper, but work in the real world, or else face the consequences.  [Please Understand Me II]

Inventor Rationals include: Atul GawandeLarry PageElaine MorganLynn MargulisElon MuskSteve JobsJoseph James SylvesterFrances CrickPaul AllenWerner Von BraunWolfgang PauliAbraham LincolnMark TwainHedy LamarrJulius Sumner Miller, and Zhang Xin

enlightenment

She titled her book, “Nomad.”

For that was her ancestral origins — misleadingly put as “her genetics”  —  supposedly her “inheritance” and her culture.

But she was different.  Something deep inside was different.

She had always read books, from the beginning as a child.

nomad

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Strategic Coordinating Rational: Mastermind (born Ayaan Hirsi Magan, 13 November 1969) is a Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, author, scholar and former politician. She received international attention as a critic of Islam and advocate for the rights and self-determination of Muslim women, actively opposing forced marriage, honor violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation.  She has founded an organization for the defense of women’s rights, the AHA Foundation.

Masterminds arrange things in coherent and comprehensive sequential order, that is, they coordinate operations by making efficient schedules, with each item entailing the next, as a necessary precursor or consequence. Moreover, Masterminds make contingency plans for keeping their schedules on track. If plan A is in jeopardy or is aborted, switch to plan B. If that doesn’t work, then plan C. Often working behind the scenes, these quiet, reserved Coordinators are able to anticipate nearly everything that can go awry and generate alternatives that are likely to avoid the fate that might befall the first operation. And so it goes, the Mastermind ending with a flow chart of alternate ways and means to reach clearly defined objectives.   [Please Understand Me II]

Mastermind Rationals include:  Andy GroveEd CatmullAyn RandSheryl WudunnSalman Khan,  Susan B AnthonyIssac NewtonSharon PresleyBill GatesMasha Gessen,  Ayaan Hirsi AliRosalind Franklin, and Ulysses S. Grant

Transformation: Swimming Across the Universe

A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.”  — Andy Grove

moore_noyce_grove

In Memoriam: Andy Grove
2 September 1936 – 21 March 2016

Andy Grove was noted for making sure that important details were never missed.  Having a strategic vision helps in recognizing the important factors.

He had survived by getting things right in the long term and transforming himself.

“By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint. . . [where] many young people were killed; countless others were interned. Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.

Even though he arrived in the United States with little money and not knowing English, Grove retained a “passion for learning.”  He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the City College of New York in 1960, followed by a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963.

“Probably no one person has had a greater influence in shaping Intel, Silicon Valley, and all we think about today in the technology world than Andy Grove.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware

Continue reading

Cultural Wind Jammer

I have the impression that some ways must be left behind, some mental habits must be abandoned, if we are not to clip the wings of progress. Even to science we must sometimes repeat Charon’s cry: By another way, by other ports, not here, you will find passage across the shore. In my role as teacher I hope to be able to show you other ways, if not other ports. — Giuseppe Vitali

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” — William James

Bill Thomas has been described as a Cultural Jammer: trying to change the American attitudes towards aging.

In 1991, Bill Thomas, having been an emergency room doctor, became the medical director of a nursing home in upstate New York. He found the place, as the Washington Post put it, “depressing, a repository for old people whose minds and bodies seemed dull and dispirited.”

Continue reading

Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

Is not a good idea.

So says her, and she should know:  she has done the research.

It’s complicated, and there are no panaceas.

Real Complex.  It’s hard work.

Politicians, Lawyers, Journalists, and the Public at large love simple explanations and simple solutions: let the Government or the Market solve it.

Simple Solutions for Complex Problems: NOT A GOOD IDEA.  Many Simple Solutions are Fast Ideas.

Rather it’s communication: both cooperative and competitive.

Her ideas are slow ideas: complicated. And the world took awhile to recognize them.  She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics three years before her death.

“Lin Ostrom cautioned against single governmental units at global level to solve the collective action problem of coordinating work against environmental destruction. Partly, this is due to their complexity, and partly to the diversity of actors involved. Her proposal was that of a polycentric approach, where key management decisions should be made as close to the scene of events and the actors involved as possible.”

Continue reading

Of a Strange and Distant Time

Strangers in Strange Lands

A gypsy of a strange and distant time
Travelling in panic all direction blind
Aching for the warmth of a burning sun
Freezing in the emptiness of where he’d come from

Left without a hope of coming home.
Gypsy — Moody Blues

He didn’t want to be a gypsy, he wasn’t really a gypsy by nature, but he left without a hope of coming home.

The world and himself made him a gypsy, an exile: a stranger in strange lands.

But he did push for the burning sun.  It technically is called RADIATION.  Order AND Disorder.

edward_teller

Lichtquanten — Albert Einstein
A Photon — a light quantum

And every one, except one of his mentors, his older fellow exiles, including Einstein, eventually disagreed with Teller Ede, making him an exile three times: a stranger in strange lands, all his life.

Continue reading

Character

“Character is what you know you are,

not what others think you have.”

She knew what to do.

“Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail.”

She did not fail, in the long run, despite all the obstacles.  Just ask her numerous, successful, students.

Continue reading

The New Mills

They had to be discrete. Tongues will wag. For their idea is a slow idea, not well accepted in the world even today.  Their slow idea on the human element, Hu, analogously called latent heat in physics and chemistry, generated a lot of heat by others, full of sound and fury at the time, for these other people vigorously opposed the idea: On Liberty – moral|economic. It wasn’t the fast idea at the time:  the conventional wisdom of Victorian, Anglican, England: the idea of nationalised merchantilismtariffed moral, economic, political, and social trade: locally culture restricted and centralized regulated trade of ideas and things: Oh Britannia.

The New Mills: John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill

Green ideas sleep furiously: latent heat

Continue reading

A Honest Disagreement about the Future

She is mostly right, and he is dead wrong in this case. However, this case is only about the future of humanity.

Who would have thunk it!  He had been billions and billions right, before.

Warren-Buffett-with-Bill-and-Melinda-Gates

However, She is an inconvenient woman.  Damn Dambisa, what’s logic and data got to do with it?

dambisa_moyo_ted

They say they know better, it’s their belief — er — political assumption [Greek: hypothesis] — er — political ?religion?.

Dead Aid a book by Dambisa Moyo

‘… Bill Gates weighed in with his condemnation. “I think that the book actually did damage the generosity of rich world nations,” he said in a 2013 interview. “I have read it and I think she didn’t know much about aid and what aid is doing.” ‘ [My emphasis]

Sorry Billthink again, haven’t you got that the other way around?

“Don’t just read it; fight it! Ask your own questions, look for your own examples, discover your own proofs. Is the hypothesis necessary? Is the converse true? What happens in the classical special case? What about the degenerate cases? Where does the proof use the hypothesis?” – Paul Halmos

There is a schism…

Continue reading

Mary’s Little Lambs

Suffer little children

No, Mary’s little lambs were not children.

Mary’s “little lambs” were medical researchers that she herded together: adults who were driven to find a cure for cancer, even as the children were suffering and dying: by the thousands.  It was a dilemma: how to cure childhood leukemia, where the medical doctors could do nothing — they didn’t understand what cancer was.  Experimenting on children with a cocktail of toxic chemicals was heart rendering, such that the original doctor who opened the door to that reasearch method, couldn’t do it.

I cannot make one child suffer and die, to save two others.
— Sidney Farber

Robert Moses said about Mary: that she had it all—intelligence, vision, generosity, charm, kindness.

Neen Hunt added this: “she also had courage, passion, and indefatigable energy, and the heart and will to apply her gifts and talents to reduce suffering from disease for people all over the world.”

“The strength of our nation depends on the health of our people. We must once again place the priority on research. It’s good for trade, good for jobs, and vital for all Americans. Medical research is our hope for our children and for the building of a healthy America.”

Mary was strategic…  For that vision was for the future…

Continue reading