Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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Stanford's Social Innovation Review is a really interesting magazine. I rather like Stanford's yt presence, and it speaks well of them that Lawrence Lessig spent time there. They use their yt presence to have frank and interesting discussions of various policy alongside other classes they put online. I don't recall why I have a copy of the magazine, but it's full of examples of people doing clever, useful, and interesting things for the public good. So far, the most interesting thing I've read (I'm about halfway through the issue) is an organisation that tried to fight malnutrition in Vietnam, which was at about 80% in the villages in which they worked. Noting that government nutritional supplements didn't seem to be working, they intead interviewed the 20% that wern't malnourished and found that they were adding small amounts of shrimp and fish to their meals, and so they organised the best-nourished families teaching the malnourished their cooking tips.

I was thinking that my initial brief synopsis of this technique would be to use an evolutionary rather than revolutionary technique - rather than bringing in knowledge from outside, use knowledge that's already there in some part of the population and perform artificial selection on the responsible memes. A lot of effective thinking, I think, is having a rich set of operators and strategies in one's toolbox and holding concepts and rules loosely enough to allow them to flexibly be employed to nontraditional ends. That process of remembering both specific things and a progression of more abstract forms of them for later use is a precious skill.

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