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November 2006

“The Dogmas of the quiet past”

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 29, 2006  ·  Musings

I was preparing some slides for a presentation this morning and was re-reading a book chapter I wrote with Mark Lazaroff entitled Anticipatory Models for Counter Terrorism. Laz is a long standing colleague and friend from my work with DARPA and the man who introduced me to what has become a fascination with the American Civil War. Our book chapter starts with the following quote from Abraham Lincoln.

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with...


Whence goeth KM? (2)

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 28, 2006  ·  Musings

My earlier blog on this excited a fair amount of comment and track backs. One of those who picked up on it, Peter Jones does not have a track back to this site (hence my link here). The other reason for posting it here, rather than as a comment to the earlier entry, is that he references a paper by Wilson which surveyed the literature and consultancy offerings on the field back in 2002. The title of the paper is The Nonsense of Knowledge Management. A title which leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader as to its conclusion....


Torture & Anthropology

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 28, 2006  ·  Musings

There has been an interesting debate in the Savage Minds blog on a recent American Association of Anthropologists resolution on the US use of Torture in connection with the so called War on Terror. One of the side bars to the thread has been an accusation (with I think some justification) that a post-modern interpretation of the world can lead to a disengagement from action and thus de facto from reality.

The debate also raises some fascinating takes on the role of academics and the potential marginalisation of the profession of...


If it doesn’t work, do more of it with greater vigour

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 26, 2006  ·  Musings

I see that Dilbert has picked up on Six Sigma. Or, to use my deliberate slip of the toungue (to which I confessed in a response to a recent comment): Six Stigma.

Now from my perspective Six Stigma is very different from BPR other than that its execution seems more determined. As a result of this it may be more difficult for the informal networks in the organisation to mitigate its excesses. That itself is an interesting aspect of organisational life. A lot of stupidly survives simply because good people use their their...


Serendipity strikes again

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 24, 2006  ·  News

Thanks to Tom Quiggin for this example of innovation. It matches the history of science in which new discoveries generally come from mavericks, or result from accidents.

Security that is small and imperfectly formed

A nanotechnology experiment that went wrong could lead to the ultimate weapon in the fight against the forgers

Michael Pollitt
Thursday November 16, 2006
The Guardian

Professor Russell Cowburn normally views small things through a powerful electron microscope. But as professor of nanotechnology at Imperial...