17th October 2010: Education of a President

Today’s reading: Peter Baker’s New York Times profile of President Barack Obama including photos and an interview excerpt. A nice birthday shot of National Security Council senior director and author Samantha Power. Baker’s interview techniques include a Dickensian timeline approach: getting the ‘present’ Obama to revisit a ‘younger’ self with lessons. Obama concludes on campaigning, policies and timing: “I start slow, but I finish strong.”

Refining the PhD chapter structure and sub-points. 474 pages of typed notes to sort through. 210 pages of handwritten notes. Revisiting Patrick Porter‘s work on strategic culture. There’s enough for several projects here, and for academic papers.

Tim Mansfield has just ‘tweeted’ that chaos theoretician and fractals discoverer Benoit Mandelbrot has passed away. Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s page simply states: “A Greek among Romans.” Mandelbrot’s philosophy — along with Taleb, Edward Lorenz, Douglas Hofstadter, and Alain Badiou — has impacted my personal life. Glimpses appear throughout some of my mid-to-late 1990s journalism and individuation work prior to joining the news/subculture site Disinformation, and during Masters studies. I later found people are either skeptical or receptive to Mandelbrot and Lorenz’s ideas; or understand them illustratively rather than how their principles may be applied in contemporary, everyday life. Perhaps I should have gone mid-2005 into innovations in financial engineering and created some futures, options and swaps with non-Gaussian conditions (Kevin Davis PDF).