Kvick Tänkare

One of Scientific America’s bloggers recently moved to Sweden.  He’s in a very rural area and, as jobs are rather scarce he’s looking to become self-employed.  His initial impressions are interesting:

Starting a business in Sweden is not very difficult and there is much support from government and outside agencies. My concern, which I’m looking into currently, is how to pay for the social services taxes as an entrepreneur. Income tax for my bracket (i.e. poor person) is actually very similar to US. But since I am my own employer I will likely need to pay for social services that is usually fulfilled by a traditional employer. This is one of the differences between working in the US and in a socialist system where you buy into healthcare and the social safety net.

Even though it appears there’s a higher entry cost into the entrepreneurial world but if you meet that threshold you don’t necessarily have to worry that a bad case of the flu will bankrupt you.  I wonder if more or less people in the U.S. would take the plunge into self-employment if they didn’t have to worry about health/social costs.

I never heard of the term ‘Tweed Punk’ before but this trailer for an upcoming game looks quite fun. Taking place in an alternate Victorian/Edwardian world, it appears you have to dodge aristocratic robotic hunters and their dogs as they chase you about their estate and the moors. Pretty cool.

At War tries to track down the pedigree of an unusual gun captured in Afghanistan.

The worst kept secret when it comes to imagination, critical thinking and problem solving is that often the best thing to do is think about something else. It seems there are stories to that effect a couple times a year. Maybe it’s news to some people but it really shouldn’t be. The shocking thing is that, at least in the workplace, and especially when we’re talking about intelligence analysis, there doesn’t’ seem to be much accounting for that fact. Nope…you’re job hours are 9-5. End of story. At least in my case, I find that while I accrue most of my problems during work hours I almost never solve them then. Instead, I solve them when I go running, in the middle of the night out of a sound sleep, or doing any number of mundane activities where my mind can wander and process the problem within my vast neural network . It’d be nice, in a field that is supposedly centered around knowledge workers to recognize that fact and build environments and schedules that enhance, rather than suppress, cognitive activity. Believe me, if I get a tasking at 9 am, it’d be better for everyone involved if I could go out for a long run at 11 am, be back at 1pm and have things well in hand before I go home for the day.

i09 has a roundup of the latest findings of the best way to engage that subconscious mental activity. For me, the most important item is that the activity must not require a lot of concentration. That’s why running is good (you just need to not fall down) or meditation or something like that. I’ve found that yoga is very unsatisfactory for that work since it really requires me to get into a state I think the Buddhists refer to as ‘living in the present’. Yoga requires so much of paying attention to the body that it crams out everything else (again, for me). When thoughts do creep in (again, I think this is what Buddhists call ‘monkey mind’ and it is a most excellent concept which I refer to over and over again) the body responds before the conscious mind is even aware of it.

And finally, a final sentimental note about a man and his dog. John Unger has a 19 year old dog suffering from arthritis. The dog apparently finds comfort in floating in the water so during the summer, John takes ‘Schoep’ to Lake Superior, and cradles him in the water, allowing the dog to fall asleep. That, ladies and gentlemen, is true compassion.

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